Seth Godin wrote a wonderful post on how we sometimes need an external push (through laws, policies, cultural guardrails) to do what’s best for us. It can be basically summed up by the following statements (from the post):
- We know that wearing a bicycle helmet can save us from years in the hospital, but some people feel awkward being the only one in a group to do so. A helmet law, then, takes away that problem and we come out ahead.
- Guard rails always seem like an unwanted intrusion on personal freedom. Until we get used to them. Then we wonder how we lived without them.
I was just thinking about true this is for so many other aspects of our lives. The friends we choose, because of the context they set, determine many of the decisions we make, and consequently many of the paths of life we take.
When setting up a company, a department, a team – how important it would be then to make sure that the cultural norms we encourage and enforce are the ones we want.
Whether it’s a culture of success (however you define it); freedom of experimentation; openness of communication; risk taking; or hard work, it is our job as servant leaders to ensure that it’s the least awkward thing to do.