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We are social beings. After all, being connected needs no ulterior motive.

Take recent research on the Millennial generation and you find that as a population, a significant driving force is purpose. The emerging workforce is more interested in how companies impact society than they are about profit. Meaning is a driving force in their lives — and they have every intention of finding that with or without your company. We call that a Connected Culture. It expresses the core of why you exist, what you are organized to accomplish, and who or what you aim to serve.

All these companies have purpose statements that focus on their customers — People; athletes; farmers. They want to make them smile.

The Culture Chat Podcast: Aligned Workplace Cultures Take Intention, Deliberation, and Work!

While every company has a culture, very few organizations are proactively building a culture based on intention. You need building blocks of culture to enhance productivity in the workplace. The following list will provide you with the building blocks that you can use to direct your culture to a place that works best for you.


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Values are the principles that matter most to an organization and to a person. Values are at the core of your mission or vision statements. Values can take the form of a single word, but they are best used with a definition that explains in greater detail what that word means. It is very important to note that Shared Values are very different from just having a company mission statement or a list of company values.

Every company and industry has a dialect, language, and symbols as unique as the products or services it provides. If everyone in a company is up to speed with the shared language used by the industry and within the company, communication becomes much more efficient. A lack of understanding, however, can result in confusion and mistakes. Make sure to include training information on the language used at your company when you hire new employees, and cultivate an environment of respect so current employees feel comfortable asking questions and seeking clarification.

Providing some ground rules for communication is key to creating the culture that you desire. Companies are built on the effectiveness and innovation of individual employees. Understanding best practices of star performers and promoting habits that increase effectiveness benefits the company and its culture. My intention is how I intend to impact on a given situation, it has elements of aspiration and is informed by my values, but crucially there is no concrete link.

My intention leads to my actions, the ways that I am in the world. Indirectly, my values have influenced my intention, and through to my action, but again, values do not have a concrete link to action.

There are plenty of cases where action can diverge from values. My impact is the way I land in the world, the way my actions are perceived. My actions lead directly to my impact, but the link between my values and my impact may be pretty loose, influenced by all sorts of external factors. This dilution effect informs in large part how cultures fail: The foundation is about my own landscape of trust: Expression is therefore about the ways that I act, an experience delivers my impact on the overall culture, my actions interacting with the actions of those around me and co-creating the lived culture.

If we wrap these two elements together, we get the Triangle of Trust.

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If we look a little deeper at the relationship between the four components we can see how each informs or is informed by the other: My values should be visible in my impact. And yet what we typically see as we move from intention, through to actions, and resulting impact, values are lost, corrupted, or compromised. The premise is that one component of this is trust, and that we can use this framework to consider how trust is built or lost. In this context, the Triangle of Trust becomes a developmental framework both for every individual, and for the organisation as a whole, as it looks at what to do to strengthen its own Landscape of Trust.

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We can walk through the Triangle into more detail. My intention is framed by my own foundations and the expression of my values. Intention is therefore directly impacted by my own landscape of trust, even if we measure that impact to the conscious decision to set aside those things which I know to be true and right.

In the Social Age , our intention can be framed in one of a number of spaces, and powered through a number of different types of power: My actions are framed by the expression of my intention and experience of the action. Yesterday I introduced a new way of illustrating trust and mistrust , exploring how we can view these as two separate things. The premise is that we can have trust or an absence of trust, and we can have mistrust, or an absence of mistrust: I may have trust in parts of the culture, or with individuals within it, whilst having mistrust in other aspects of the organisation, including, notably, the technology, because trust can be invested in individuals, communities of individuals, or anthropomorphised elements of the organisation such as technology or spaces.

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When we sit within the square reflects the type of culture we are creating: If we have mistrust, and no trust, the culture is dysfunctional.