Culture isn’t About Taco Tuesday
Posted on May 20 2019
I’ve had the good fortune to discover Dr. Alan Weiss through a recent Noah Kagan podcast episode. Pure genius is how I’d describe Dr. Weiss in a nutshell. In fact, Dr. Weiss has his own podcast called “The Uncomfortable Truth”. It’s really more of a ‘solo-cast’ since there are no guests. Dr. Weiss distills succinct lessons on a variety of topics. One that resonated with me recently was about communication and the importance of defining your terms.
As part of communicating, Dr. Weiss recommends defining what you mean when discussing a subject. In his example he used the word culture. He says culture is a set of values that determine behavior in an organization.
It may seem trivial, yet it was a startling example and quite apropos because of something that happened to me a few weeks ago. I was in a meeting discussing the same word used in Dr. Weiss’ example: culture. One of the kinder in the room (kinder is a pejorative us old farts use to describe recent college graduate new hires.) chimed in when culture was brought up and said. “Oh! You mean like when all of us from different ethnicity get together and bring in pot luck dishes from our country of origin; or like celebrating a specific heritage month?”
No kinder. That’s not what we meant at all. I share this experience to reinforce the lesson from Dr. Weiss. When communicating to diverse groups it’s important to define your terms.