Different People. Shared Purpose.
A Heated Debate
If your family is anything like ours, there are unwritten rules about subjects that you don’t bring up at Thanksgiving dinner under any circumstances. One of those topics is politics. Why? Well, Aunt Vicky is a passionate Trump supporter, Uncle Larry wants Hillary in office, your cousin is championing Bernie and Grandpa is still talking about Reagan. Bring up politics, mix in alcohol and tryptophan and the holiday can devolve in spectacular fashion.
Demographics of Your Culture
Think about the people who comprise your office. There’s a good chance that could have a wide range of occupations and generations represented. That’s a lot of personalities and viewpoints to take into account. It’s your company’s responsibility, and in your best interest, to recognize the validity of these voices, unite them and channel that energy toward a common goal.
Importance of These Perspectives
There is a reason you hired the people within your organization, and there is a reason that your company’s values resonated with them. But not every employee was hired for the same reason, and not every employee accepted for the same reason. That’s a good thing. You don’t want a cast of automatons who think the same way. A company’s culture needs diversity, of both ideas and people. The perspectives and ideologies that may divide us outside the office can harmonize through a company’s values and a Shared Purpose.
Diversity is Not Something to Ignore
Despite what some companies claim, the office is not a family. Although it’s not advisable to strike up political debates regularly, an office is a place to acknowledge, even celebrate differences. People with profound differences must work in the same place, and more importantly, work together. Differences are going to pop up, and the organizational culture needs to be able to deal with those differences. Not only that, but workplace culture should accommodate and reflect those differences, and be able leverage the heterogeneity of perspective into a more resilient vision and purpose.
Culture is the Common Ground
No matter age, background, department or field, your employees should be able to find commonalities through the structures of your company culture. They should be able to network with people who think similarly, they should be able to collaborate with people that think differently, and they should have a space and capacity to communicate and reconcile differences. When employees know and see that they’re working toward the same thing, they can see their place and understand their essential role in the bigger picture. They can see the back of the box, and where they as pieces of the corporate puzzle complement one another. Your culture is the entity that makes those connections happen, and it should illuminate the common ground that all your employees share.