Early in my professional career, Bill was a client. He was a very good salesman, manager, and leader. In running the Los Angeles office of a major East Coast bank, he constantly looked to expand his capabilities, staff, and revenue base. As we reviewed his plans, he often reminded me of the need to preserve the culture in the office that had brought them ongoing success. His reminders then have stayed with me for twenty-five years.
“Change is important. It is a good thing but it can also kill you.”
“New people can be great additions. Too many can dilute who and what we are.”
“In order to be successful, a community needs to work together. Diversity only helps if there is are shared values at the core.”
In two days, my staff in a given location multiplies by more than 20x. This breaks Bill’s second wisdom point. It also points me to the warnings in the other two mantras. As I look at the themes and messages that we have included in training, I realize that the next few days will tell the real story.
It is not enough to talk the story; one must walk the story. Every action, each decision will show the staff what our values are. The warning an character gave in an old story s exactly what we must understand and live. “I told them that wasn’t the way we Romans did things. Just because a man is accused, we don’t throw him out to the dogs. We make sure the accused has a chance to face his accusers and defend himself of the charges.” (Acts 25.15, 16)
As concerned as I am about tomorrow, I find myself looking at today. I may be telling others far more than I realize. I wonder what my driving says to those around me. Should I struggle with the purchases I make by looking at the working condition of the individuals that made them possible? Does the environmental impact of the products I use come into play?
I wonder, what is my culture?