Making Culture Visible

April 27, 2021

Care to consider something today about people at work that was equally true hundreds of years ago? An idea or principle not whiplashed by windblown trends, fads or even 21st century global pandemics?

In essence, my hunch is that people go to work to make their mark. The catch then is:  how do they know? What validates that central human desire to be important? … to make a difference? … to matter?

Lately I’ve wondered how it might be possible to satisfy that common ( timeless ) human desire. You know, like putting a Visible Applause seal of approval on “here’s a way”.

What do you think of this graphic above?

I think culture is important at work. I think of it as a bond between leadership ( vision/purpose ) and worker (skills/heart).

There are three dimensions of culture that have loose ties to Maslow’s human desires. Leadership has the opening to validate people in each:

  1. Personal Connection – my skill and contributions
  2. Company Success – team, branch, division winning records
  3. Stand for – our cause, a better world

This idea is kind of a work-in-progress, but the desired outcome ( my mark ) is making culture more evident … visible … living.

Back to Maslow ( loosely ). Leadership validation of personal contributions gives us ownership.  Honored company success confirms belonging.  Celebration of commitment to local community and causes satisfies the desire for meaning. Ownership, Belonging and Meaning. As soon as an employee witnesses leadership’s attention to those innate desires – our work takes on meaning far beyond likelihood