Archive for April, 2014

Culture Shift: Remember When…

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

In my continuing series on building high performance cultures, I’m taking a detour with this installment. Rather than persist in identifying a great culture’s attributes as in ten past postings, I’m outlining a series of cultural shifts we’ve seen in society; many of which result from the same hyper-sensitive, politically correct, tolerant-to-the-point-of-dangerous, values and mindsets pointed out in past posts. These shifts can adversely shape and influence your business culture, affecting employee behaviors and results.

The examples I’m offering aren’t intended to romance any particular period of time as the “good old days”, as all eras and generations have had their share of cultural regressions. They are, however, evidence of the acceleration of cultural decline in homes, schools, businesses, institutions, and nations. If these trends can influence society as a whole, your business culture is certainly at risk unless you continue to weave in the “words that work”, and weed out the “words that hurt” listed previously. For a quick review, here are those I’ve covered in the series thus far:

Words that work:

Earn: to acquire through merit.

Deserve: to be worthy of; to qualify for.

Consistent: constantly adhering to the same principles.

Hope: grounds for believing something in the future will happen.

Catalyst: a person or thing that makes something happen.

Responsible: to be the primary cause of something.

Tough-minded: strong willed, vigorous, not easily swayed.

Words that hurt:

Fault: responsibility for failure.

Blame: to assign responsibility for failure.

Excuse: a plea offered to explain away a fault or failure.

Mediocre: average, ordinary, not outstanding.

Wish: to want something that cannot, or probably will not happen.

Entitle: “a claim to something you feel you are owed”.

Sloth: “reluctance to work or exert effort; laziness”.

Now consider the following cultural shifts and the impact they’ve had on people’s attitudes, behaviors and results. They should incentivize you to proactively shape your culture with your standards, values and a strong accountability for your people to live up to, in order to minimize the impact of these cultural trends.

Thirty-nine examples of cultural shifts…remember when…

1. Leaders in business & government valued principles over privileges and responsibilities over rights.

2. Illegal immigration was considered illegal; not encouraged and endorsed by business leaders and government alike.

3. Able-bodied men despised the idea of welfare. They’d take any job rather than a handout.

4. People expected to earn jobs, promotions & scholarships based on what they had accomplished.

5. Hollywood was filled with selfless patriots who promoted God, country and family.

6. Bibles and prayer were found in schools; metal detectors, guns, drug dealers and condom distribution were not.

7. Poorly performing CEO’s were fired, not rewarded for failure with seven figure severance bonanzas.

8. Families had conversations over dinner, they didn’t text, check email or update social media.

9. Society celebrated those living moral lives, not the tasteless and public parading of depravity.

10.  You worked your way out of a tough time; you didn’t try to whine your way out, wish your way out, or wait your way out.

11.  People might expect something for nothing, but they weren’t as comfortable demanding it.

12.  Public prayer was normal, expected and welcome; not an offensive, politically incorrect abomination.

13.  School kids were allowed to defend themselves from bullies without being treated as guiltily as their offender and suspended.

14.  People expected to pay a price for success, and assumed it might take a while.

15.  You looked out for neighbors; you didn’t sue them for displaying American flags or Nativity scenes.

16.  You were rewarded with a trophy for stepping up and performing; not given participation trophies for just showing up and belonging.

17.  Welfare supplied basic needs to the poor: It didn’t fund pot, porn, beer, casino trips, spa dates or subsidize one’s sloth.

18.  Storekeepers could say, “Merry Christmas” at Christmas time without the threat of being boycotted.

19.  Successful people were looked up to; not vilified, demonized, the subject of protests or government vendettas.

20.  You could promote traditional marriage without being dismissed as homophobic.

21.  You could criticize the government without being spied on, audited by the IRS, or put on an enemy’s list.

22.  “Jesus Christ” were appropriate words for a Christian to use in public prayer, not banned, outlawed or the subject of litigation.

23.  Television was fit for family fun; not a peddler of porn, promoter of promiscuity, or a venue for violence.

24.  Illegal immigrants were considered as law breakers; not given welfare, medical care, driver’s licenses, voting rights and free college tuition.

25.  “Clinging to religion and guns” was considered a Constitutional right; not dismissed as radical or rebellious by political leaders.

26.  Kids transitioned into adulthood; they didn’t live with mom and dad until they were thirty.

27.  Men were called “sirs” not “dudes”; women were “ladies” not “ho’s”.

28.  Unions existed to improve working conditions and bargain for fair wages; not to protect, defend, and rationalize incompetence or to keep poor performers employed.

29.  Defenders of the unborn were called pro-life, not domestic terrorists.

30.  Misbehaving kids were spanked at home and in schools; not coddled or given “time-outs”; and parents counted to three at the most, not to ten.

31.  People asked for a raise based on their results, they didn’t demand it based on tenure.

32.  You could fire the lazy or incompetent without them being rewarded with unemployment benefits.

33.  “Unemployment” provided temporary aid until you found you next job, it wasn’t a junior retirement plan.

34.  You could comment about your personal beliefs concerning morality without it being called hate speech, and without you being labeled a bigot.

35.  People understood they were entitled to what they had earned and deserved at work, nothing more and nothing less.

36.  You could criticize a person of a different race without being called racist.

37.  Non-performers were fired, not transferred around endlessly in hopes they’d finally find their niche in life.

38.  There was a Christmas break, not a winter break; there were Christmas trees, not holiday trees.

39.  You could defend yourself and your family against an attacker trying to rob, beat, or kill you without fear of being jailed or sued by your assailant.

This list could go on. In fact, it will continue over time with frequent updates at my Twitter address:@DaveAnderson100.

For now, let me reaffirm that your culture is under persistent attack from unhealthy, and sometimes devastating, societal cultural influences. Get the upper hand and continue to shape your culture in your image, with your values and standards, or it will be shaped from the outside-in.

P.S. Stay diligent: culture is never complete, and always at risk.