The Benefits of a Clearly Defined Culture
Procrastination, lack of team spirit, and decreased engagement are all signs of a negative culture both in organizations and families. This develops when the culture is not built intentionally but instead produced by default, without a vision and a plan.
In the book Good to Great, Jim Collins says that in the workplace people want:
To be a part of a winning team
Contribute to visible, tangible results
Feel the excitement of being a part of something outstanding, something that works.
This applies to families too!
A strong defined culture energizes its members, keeps them engaged, gives them a sense of belonging, and helps them make decisions. << CLICK TO TWEET
It’s a pleasure to show up for things you can count on and enjoy.
Playing games came naturally to our family because it was something Carl and I enjoyed growing up. Once my husband and I identified it as something we wanted to pass to our children we got excited about it. Our excitement was contagious, and it didn’t take long before our kids got in on the fun by playing them, creating them, and bringing them to friend’s houses. This past Christmas, my kids, facilitated the party games we planned so that I could cook for our guests.
When members of an organization or family know what to expect, they can take ownership of the part they play.
In our family, there are certain things our kids do not have to wonder whether or not we will do. We will go to church on Sunday. We will support one another by attending their sporting event, music concert, or awards ceremony. We will work together to clean up around the house, especially after dinner. And if someone is not home we cover their chores for them. Plus, knowing this eliminates most of the grumbling and complaining.
When people work together, they view themselves as a team rather than individuals. They understand that what they contribute matters.
Our family hosts a connect group for our church. When we talk about, plan and prepare for that evening, we say, “we host” vs. “Mommy and Daddy hosts.” We all help out with set up and clean up as well as greeting and engaging with our guests.
We will not always be around to help our children make choices. A list of dos and don’ts will only take them so far. When rooted in our values, culture guide our decisions.
Our family practices hospitality regularly. When presented with the opportunity, our oldest daughter volunteered to host her field hockey team’s freshman lunch. Because we consistently welcome friends, family, and neighbors into our home, she knew that this was a perfect way for her to volunteer. She didn’t have to check with me to make sure it was okay; she had confidence that this would be a fit for our family.
Much like a company and its employees, children do not create the family culture. However, they can have a role in shaping the future of the family through age-appropriate conversations.
Our kids were 6, 8, and 10 when we first talked to them about what we wanted to be known for as a family. We started by asking them when they knew about Chipotle (good food, fresh ingredients) and Michael’s (crafts). We shifted the conversation to families we know. Our neighbor across the street always has the best snacks, while the siblings they play with across town often bicker and fight. Our kids immediately made the connection with the examples we used.
You can also ask your children their favorite and least favorite things about your family. Their answers may surprise you. This may be the encouragement you need to stay the course or make some changes in you every day.
Family culture creation begins when you determine the values, beliefs, and customs or traditions you want to share with one another. << CLICK TO TWEET
Start the conversation about your family culture now! Download this free Family Culture Discussion Sheet.
It includes questions that will allow you to explore who you are as a family and challenge you to dream about what you could be together.
You don’t have to have this all figured out in one conversation. Your culture will be refined over time as you discuss, discover, and try new things together. You may find that you love the idea of something more than actually you like doing it. That’s okay because it is just part of the process.
Prefer the ease of listening to reading? No problem! Just click play to hear this episode of The Family Culture Project.