‘In our family, we don’t use that word or phrase.’
‘In our family, we call each other on their birthdays.’
‘When they invite you for lunch, it’s lunch, a walk, tea and cake, not just lunch.’
‘In our family, you open your birthday presents while having coffee or tea, while in that family, you take the presents home and open them in private.’
Family culture. The way things are done around here. Sometimes it’s called etiquette or the unwritten rules of how to behave. Another way of saying it is ‘people like us, do things like this.’ All families have a culture. It tends to be most pronounced or ‘seen’ when a new person joins the family as the unwritten and unspoken rules are broken.
Teams and organisations are like this too. This can be frustrating, but fighting it head on rarely works. But so does ignoring it. Culture it is important to ‘see’. And culture is full of sub-cultures too, but there are threads holding the sub-cultures together.
Seeing the culture in which you operate in opens up possibility. Possibility for navigating it, for finding the language, signs, symbols to use. It allows you to signpost yourself and your idea as being ‘one of us’ by using language that connects when necessary.
In a weird way, change is all about connection not dissonance. Change is about showing others that they can make the change you seek, but still be part of the tribe.