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What is Positive Culture?

Culture:
the glue that binds our
communities, organizations, groups
and families together. 

 written by Rob Benn

Years ago, I was employed by the government as a ‘cultural developmentconsultant’.  I worked with a plethora of organizations in my region helping them to plan for their futures. Some were incredible to experience – full of happy people with happy stories, working Rob and Laurie Benn 2007 together towards shared goals or ideals.  Still others went to the opposite end of the spectrum and seemed to exude negative energy – unhappy people with lots to gripe about, sometimes harboring anarchistic desires. 

I was frequently asked, “So, what’s your definition of culture?”  Definitions andofferings of just what ‘culture’ is abound.  It took many attempts to wrestle my mind to a practical way of describing how I thought about culture– both the positive aspects and the negative ones. After some years, I was able to come to some working definitions that are today proving invaluable in our consultation business. Culture is the glue that binds our communities, organizations, groups and families together. But there is a dual nature to culture.

First, I would liketo acknowledge the character of a negative culture.  A negative culture tends to be oppressive and destructive.  Members exploit and attack each other,suppressing creativity and communication.  This exploitation results in negative reactions from those being exploited. These negative reactions show up as anarchistic behaviors with chaotic results. With the majority of its focus turned inward, the negative culture can't anticipate the future and is often surprised by it.

A positive culture tends to be nurturing, democratic and progressive.  When a culture is in positive mode it nurtures and values the contributions of its members; as a result ideas grow and flourish.  A positive culture is flexible to change and adapts to meet the needs of its members in a dynamic and constantly changing world.  With the combined energy of all its members, a positive culture can actively pursue the challenges of the future. 

My wife Laurie and I started Positive Culture Company in 1998.  Together, we aid organizations (private and non-profit) using graphic facilitation to assist them with their strategic planning and visioning efforts as they strive to embrace a ‘positive culture’ within their organizations.

We have witnessed profound effects on group dynamics when visual language and graphic interpretation are used in the facilitation process.  The experience is unifying, energetic and creative.  Visual images allow people to feel connected to the process and to the people involved.  It really is almost magical!  Most definitely, visual language contributes to the creation of positive culture. 

The Four Parts of a Positive Culture
"The Engine of Positive Culture"

Four Parts of a Positive Culture diagram-Rob Benn

Positive Culture Talks

We offer custom designed workshops to help you generate a Positive Culture in your work space and with your workgroup. You can come to us or we can come to you.  Free Estimates, so give us a call 403-526-1616 or send an email  and we can discuss your project


The Four Parts of a Positive Culture
and their negative Counter Parts

  • Respect:  is the route to knowledge and a willingness to share.  Knowledge makes it possible to avoid repeating mistakes and sharing gives the group access to more and diverse knowledge.  Contempt destroys respect
  • Communication:  we need communication to let people know what we need, to pass on ideas and to accomplish tasks.  Defensiveness & / or Nasty Attacks – smothers communication
  • Participation:  we need participation to get anything going that will require more than one person’s personal ability.  Planning needs to involve people and people need to feel meaningfully involved.  Withdrawal & / or Exclusion – kills participation

  • Creativity:  is problem solving power, without it our ancestors would not have survived.  Every challenge of the future will need to be handled creatively.  Non-constructive Criticism – suppresses positive creativity

An organization that embraces
the four parts of a positive culture will benefit from the combined
positive energies of its members
and even from the perpetual
winds of change.
 



Recipe for Negative Culture
(based on relationship theory by: John M. Gottman)


Withdrawal &/or Exclusion

kills participation

Defensiveness &/or Nasty Attacks

smothers communication

Unnecessary Criticism

suppresses positive creativity

a black cartoon bomb with the fuse lit


Open Contempt

destroys respect

Try something new at your conference or professional gathering

We offer custom designed workshops to help you generate a Positive Culture in your work space and with your workgroup. You can come to us or we can come to you.  Free Estimates, so give us a call 403-526-1616 or send an email  and we can discuss your project


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Positive Culture Company
Phone 1-403-526-1616 -  Email: vp@positiveculture.ca
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