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…Giving thanks

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This is going to be a short session.

[this being a public holiday in the US, we’re not billing for our time]

We here at badconsultant have been watching a cultural development over the past few years:

  1. There has been more technological change in the last decade than since before the industrial revolution swept across Europe
  2. Our cave-people brains haven’t caught up with the reach of global information – someone on the web in Japan can seem as real to us as our next door neighbour
  3. Television is replacing invented content – imagination, writing, etc. – with ‘reality’ content

So here we are, still wired genetically to exist in small communities where we can see and interact with most people in that community. And at the same time, ravaged by a blitz of information that confuses the boundaries of that community to the point where it’s difficult to differentiate the physical world from the ‘virtual’.

If you don’t believe us, try and listen in to a workplace conversation on American Idol, The Surreal Life, etc. Listen carefully. And you will hear what sounds like a discussion of someone in the village – “did you hear what Bob did… He had a real argument with…”, “I can’t believe Shanelle did that, she was really out of line…”

Settlement patterns in the US.

So few people, so much space.

The lengthening distance between people. Most of the media coming out of congested urban centers. Most of the recipients living in and experiencing the distance of rural/semi-rural communities.

The culture of community is eroded every day.

Is it any wonder the the modern corporation has become a soulless, disenfranchising experience? As people increasingly grow apart, as the spirit of togetherness becomes a statement about online discussion forums rather than physical contact, as we trust our neighbors less than we do soap stars, and where celebrities hold greater sway over our opinions than do informed civic leaders…

We grow distant.

To quote a VP “I don’t send thank you e-mails anymore, I haven’t got time. It’s OK, people understand that I’m too busy.”

You have to wonder how colleague engagement could ever flourish in such an environment.

A change needs to come.

So, here is badconsultant‘s simple, 3-step plan:

1) When you ask for something from a colleague, say “please?”
2) When you are given something by a colleague, say “thank you”
3) If you’re a VP, spend a lot of time ensuring you live and breathe steps 1) and 2)

It’s not our fully detailed cultural change plan

[we will be pleased to provide a draft statement of work for such a complete, holistic approach to cultural change]

but it’s a pretty powerful set of actions. Dignity and respect begins with each interaction. You are the change.

[and, if you’re not, you’re just our kind of client]

On this day for giving thanks, ponder this – for every good deed that has been done for you, how much thanks did you give? How many times did you say “thank you” to someone more junior than you in the last week?

Think about thanks. And give it whenever you can – it is just one small way that you will build a culture of community.