People and Culture

People come from diverse backgrounds, childhood values, upbringing, work environments and mental models of the world. Ethically and philosophically, all principal virtues that make up a good culture are deeply rooted in creating happiness for the individual, company, and the markets independent of the cultural identity.

Corporates spend innumerable iterations over the years to define cultural identity. This identity helps people relate to the shared goals of what needs to be achieved and 'how' the goals are achieved. The pressure of the markets constantly tests the principles on which such identity is based on. Markets are volatile, dynamic, vibrant and complex. How can you define a cultural identity based on purpose without acknowledging the pressures of the markets and the times we live in? Is this identity constant over time?

Is the culture of a fast-paced, highly volatile, startup phase of a company the same as the culture of a company which is in relatively stable markets and growth phase? Big company vs small company?

If it's premised that cultural principles are rooted in happiness, while not trading off corporate objectives, then culture is as dynamic and vibrant as humans and markets. It's probably safe to say that it's an optimization function to balance the happiness and goals of the collective. This makes it impossible to define a constant identity.

What makes one happy may not necessarily be the same for another. Fundamentally, understanding this abstract and sometimes fleeting nature of happiness requires an 'open' and 'free' mind. A culture that can help foster an open and free mind requires people who are not only purpose-driven but also people who acknowledge this dynamic nature of the beast. Putting together a bunch of platitudes does not make a cultural identity.

Celebrating diversity, collaboration, mutual respect, courage... etc, are all table stakes but may not necessarily in itself define culture.

Maybe, just being open and being free is all we need?

How do you apply "being open, being free" you ask? Simple. You can probably define culture as an objective function to guide you with a derived value for the given context and not as a static value in absolute.

It's a DIY value function!

Be open to ________.

Be free from ________.

Be open to positive. Be open to ideas. Be open to get mentored. Be open to other people's perspectives.

Be open to people.

Be open to ________.

Be free from negative. Be free from inhibitions. Be free from fear of failure. Be free from people's confirming biases. 

Be free from people.

Be free from ________.

Be open. Be free.

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