Crafting a Culture of Working Together

Chris Edmonds is the founder and CEO of the Purposeful Culture Group, which he launched after a 15-year career leading and managing teams.

In an ecosystem, cooperative interaction means a positive change for one individual or group also means benefits for the entire system. Similarly, in the ecosystem or culture of an organization, this looks like taking the time to support others, knowing there are benefits for the whole.

Another way to put it might be, when the chips are down, you discover who your friends really are.

A few years ago Colorado enjoyed a significant snowstorm. Springtime at 8400 feet means snows into May – wet, sticky snow.

Our neighborhood received two feet of snow in less than 24 hours. Of our five neighbors, three of us had new all-terrain vehicles with plow blades. We were still learning how to maneuver them, how to move snow efficiently, how much power to use and when etc. This was the biggest storm we’d seen since getting our new ATVs.

We had a ball. We cleared our driveways quickly and began working to clear our dirt road. Early on, I had a “learning moment.”

workplace communication
women's leadership

In an ecosystem, cooperative interaction means a positive change for one individual or group also means benefits for the entire system.

CHRIS EDMONDS

I pushed a huge pile of snow off our road, then put my machine into reverse. The snow was too deep and too sticky. I spun the tires. I fought it for a bit, but I was stuck. Badly.

Within minutes my two neighbors were beside me helping dig out my ATV. The rest of the neighbors came out to help and cheer us on – eight adults and a toddler, all supporting the process.

It took all our efforts and a pull from my neighbor’s ATV winch to get me back on solid ground.

Work is often a solitary experience – especially when things are not going well.

Dig in! Be the person who notices others’ struggles. Roll up your sleeves and help them, expecting nothing in return. While it would have taken me an hour to dig it out on my own, with willing and able neighbors, it took less than 10 minutes.

Most of our workplaces don’t have this degree of trust, respect, and cooperation. People are focused on their work and pay little attention to the circumstances of colleagues just up the hall or down the line. But taking a free moment to offer knowledge or advice, to serve with an act of kindness, or just to notice our work neighbors will save time and energy overall, and be a reason to celebrate together.

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