Family Culture Can be Cultivated, Much like Business Culture

ACT Like a Pro: Issue 96

What is business culture? While it’s hard to define, culture exists and it is felt by everyone. What’s most interesting is, culture of a business is either created or it’s just simply tolerated.

Culture shifts when new leaders take the helm and when new people join the work team. Culture can be changed intentionally with a conscious effort, and it often needs an adjustment when there is damage to repair in relationships or when fissures appear in how a business is run.

Now, I have a story for you of Tom and Bob and their new brother-in-law, Jim.

The family culture had gotten off kilter when Tom and Bob mostly took over the leadership from Dad, yet Dad inserted his will by demanding that they hire Jim. In the habit of their family culture, while they were angry, they didn’t dare talk to Dad about it. While the brothers were “in charge,” Dad still “ruled.” They tolerated his decision—until they couldn’t anymore.

Instead of trying to talk through a solution, Tom ignored Jim as much as possible, generally angry at him just for being alive. By the time I met the family, Bob had basically been protecting Jim from Tom and Tom from Jim for months, tiptoeing around the two just trying to keep them from seeing each other but not changing anything. They were tolerating the culture of Tom’s temper and anger at the situation and Jim’s very real incompetence doing the job he had been assigned by Dad. Sadly, the very culture that Tom hated—the way his Dad ruled from a place of anger and demanding silence—was the same way he was acting. The culture they allowed seemed likely to continue for another generation.

Make no mistake. A culture that people believe in, flourish in, and love is essential for the long-term health of a farm. A culture of coaching and learning is about creating, over time, shared visions. This isn’t just consultant talk; it’s about sustainability.

Thinking about changing your business culture? Try group executive coaching with Sarah Beth Aubrey. Contact info@sarahbethaubrey.com for more information.

ACT Like a Pro Out There!

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