Monthly Archives: March 2015

Smiling While You Work?

Duchenne

Bearing the “Duchenne smile” is the healthiest way to work.  In the mid-19th century, French neurologist Guillaume Duchenne identified two types of smiles:

1) what we today call the Botox smile – just the CORNERS of the mouth rise;

Duchenne 1

2) and what has become known as the Duchenne smile – not only do the CORNERS of the mouth rise, but also the CHEEKS; while the eyes SQUINT – and/or form crow’s feet, if you have wrinkles.

kinopoisk.ru

The former smile is known as a fake smile, while the latter is recognized as a more honest display of joy.

 

WORKPLACE BENEFITS

What is interesting about smiling, fake or real, is that one can physiologically trick him/herself into a better mood/disposition by simply smiling.  The facial muscles trigger the brain to react chemically and produce positive emotions, thereby creating a better outcome to your day.

Another way of looking at this concept of controlling your immediate destiny is to engage in Method Acting at work.  Method Acting is a technique which actors use to create more lifelike performances.  Instead of mimicking behaviors and merely recounting lines from a script, actors attempt to internally re-produce the feelings and thoughts of the characters they portray.  (Note: This technique has led to a lot of dual on- & off-screen romances.)

When you allow your day to be disrupted by the words and actions of others, you relinquish your power, and subsequently your pleasure.  Emotionally Intelligent people manage to stay focused on feeling good about something.  Tap into that feeling, memory, person, or thing.  Negativity exists around you daily, and your mind has the ability to shield itself from much of it.

This is not to say you can easily become impervious to how others think of you.  As human beings (a.k.a. social animals), we are all susceptible to having “down feelings” projected by toxic co-workers and bosses. You just have to remember that their words bear just as much weight, if not more, on themselves, as they do for you.  Any criticism can be delivered with grace, diplomacy, or compassion.  Real leaders know how to do this well.

Most importantly: Self-worth can only come from within.  Positive self-talk is critical, and positive emotions will keep you focused, productive, and influential.  You are the master of your own happiness.

Above all, choose work you love to do; that’ll make it a Duchenne smile.

Say, “Cheese.”

When you change the frame, you change the game.”

― William Thomas, Bridgestone executive

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, with a Cheshire cat smile, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners.  We increase retention.  Visit CorporateLookingGlass.com.

© Rossina Gil, 2015

 

How the “American Nations” Have Shaped USA Corporations – Third in a Series: The West

11 Nations

Historian Colin Woodard, author of American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America, examined the events of the past four centuries to understand the forces that drive our behaviors across the nation.

Woodard describes how the continental USA is comprised of primarily nine nations, since each region throughout the continent has a distinctive history that creates a unique identity — often times resulting in cross-cultural conflicts today. (There are another two nations located in Canada, with some spillover of the Midlands into Ontario). For simplicity’s sake, I’ve placed the nine nations of the USA into three regions: North, South, and West.

North

1) Yankeedom, 2) New Netherland, 3) The Midlands;

South

4) Tidewater, 5) Greater Appalachia, 6) The Deep South;

West

7) El Norte, 8) The Left Coast, 9) The Far West;

* Canada

10) New France (also exists in Louisiana — exception of New Orleans), 11) First Nation.

The focus of this blog is on the West.  Below is a brief account of the historical influences and values of each nation; and an example, per nation, of a regional organization to illustrate how the values are reinforced and exemplified within the organizational culture.

We begin with “El Norte.”

AREA- El Norte

The area of El Norte (“The North” in Spanish, since it was formerly the northern part of Mexico) encompasses south and west Texas, southern California, southern Arizona, most of New Mexico, and parts of Colorado (as well as many parts of northern Mexico).

HISTORY

In the late 16th century, Spaniards had discovered a trading route over the Pacific Ocean to California, before it sailed south to its port in their colony, Mexico.  Spanish Jesuit priests went up the coast on El Camino Real (“The Royal Highway”) to establish 21 missions to convert the Native Americans; hence, most of the coastal cities are named after saints (e.g. Santa Barbara, San Francisco).  Today, roads such as Rodeo Drive and Cañon Drive (in Beverly Hills) are pronounced with Anglicized pronunciations. For example, Cañon is pronounced “CAEH-nun” instead of “cahn-NYON,” which means “canyon.”

In 1821, Mexico gained independence from Spain, but the Mexican-American War soon after ensued and ended in 1848, with the Gadsden Purchase.  This purchase created a territorial line between modern-day Mexico and the following states: California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.  Baja California (“Lower California”) is a peninsula which is the 31st state of Mexico; many Californians continue to believe that it is an extension of the USA state of California (formerly, “Alta California” in Spanish, or “Upper California”), not knowing the history.

Because of the long Southern border and history, Mexicans comprised 32% of the foreign-born population of the USA in 2008.  This is the same proportion as the Irish had in the USA, during the late 19th Century.  The Catholic Irish (and, subsequently, Catholic Polish) were ridiculed for having a different religion, accent, language, and for their indigent background.  To a certain extent, the less-than-welcoming treatment of masses yet to be assimilated continues to be the case today.  Many companies and families welcome the cheap labor on the one hand, while holding out an arms-length distance reception with the other.

 

VALUES

Independent, Self-sufficient, Adaptable, Work-centered, Diversity

The Spaniards invested little into this area for roughly 200 years, so all inhabitants were pretty much left alone and were required to send 20% (1/5) back to the Mother Country – this became known as “La Quinta,” (the one-fifth) – a name borrowed for a local motel chain.

CORPORATE EXAMPLE- Halliburton

Independent, Self-sufficient, Work-centered, Diversity

“They have great benefits and you can make a lot of money if you work in the field.”

“Very diverse work environment, you can meet people from all over the world here.”

AREA- The Left Coast

The Left Coast extends from central California (Monterey) all the way to the capital of Alaska (Juneau).  This includes San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and the Canadian city of Vancouver – which sits close to the border with the USA.

HISTORY

The Left Coast was originally colonized by two groups: 1) New England merchants, missionaries, and woodsmen; 2) Greater Appalachian farmers, prospectors, and fur traders.  In 1848, gold was discovered in California (a.k.a. “The Golden State”), and one year later (1849) the Gold Rush brought tens of thousands of people from across the USA by covered wagon, and from across the world by sailboat to the San Francisco area. These people were known as the “forty-niner’s” – which is the historical name adopted by the San Francisco football team, the ‘49’ers.

The Left Coast is the home to two large movements: 1) Environmental Consciousness; 2) and the Tech Revolution.  It is the birthplace and address for Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Apple, Twitter, and the world-renown Silicon Valley.  This nation (along w/ New Netherland) is highly progressive, as it has initiated the Gay Rights movement, the Peace movement, and the Cultural Revolution of the 1960’s. Eastern practices, such as homeopathic doctors, yoga, and feng shui, have blended into the lifestyle of many.  The cultural fusion(s), combined with the progressive nature, creates a perception that many fellow mainland Americans find “strange,” “earthy-crunchy,” “hippy,” and “fruits & nuts.”

VALUES

Intellectualism, Purpose, Environment, Risk, Non-Linear (Systemic)

The Left Coast has retained a strong strain of New England intellectualism and idealism even as it continues to embrace a culture of individual fulfillment.  It combines the Yankee faith in good government and social reform with a commitment to individual self-exploration and discovery.  Founders Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Steve Jobs (Apple) did not finish college, yet created multi-billion dollar businesses from ingenuity.

 

CORPORATE EXAMPLE- Microsoft

Innovation, Systemic, Egalitarian

“Work-life balance is incredible, benefits are amazing, salaries are slightly above market rate.  Microsoft is able to work on software a scale of complexity that I would argue has never been met elsewhere… The complexity of shipped software in this day and age is mind-boggling, yet done with shocking effectiveness.

It’s also a company that struggles with the dilemma of making more money than it ever has before, but also being more irrelevant than it ever has been before. Classic innovator’s dilemma at work.” – Adrian Aoun

“Microsoft HQ’s lack of oppressive ostentation was so precisely calibrated that a cynic could be excused for experiencing this non-corporate corporate culture as oppressively ostentatious in its own right.  As ‘in your face’ as any thrown pie.” – Dee Findlay Stewart

 

AREA- The Far West

The Far West nation has expansive territories which include northern Arizona, the interiors of California, Washington, and Oregon; the western halves of the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Kansas; Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and Alaska. (It extends far north into Canada: portions of Yukon, and much of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba).

HISTORY

Mining districts and railroad companies led the colonization of the Far West.  This era was named “The Gilded Age” by Mark Twain, in 1873.  During the late 19th century, the railroads launched a large-scale marketing campaign to lure people out to populate the area, but the allure ended the winter of 1886.  There simply wasn’t enough rain for farmers and cattlemen to survive, and they left in droves.

Since the railroads had no competitors, they were a monopoly and charged whatever they pleased for rail fares.  For example, it was exponentially more expensive per mile to travel into or out of the Far West than travel from coast to coast.  Corporate control over Far Western politics and society was pervasive.  For example, the now-defunct Anaconda Copper literally ran Montana, buying off judges, local officials, and politicians in both parties and, via the “cemetery vote” (i.e. using the names of dead people to vote), thereby controlling the state’s elections.  Until the 1970’s, it maintained “hospitality rooms” (i.e. prostitutes and liquor) at the state capitol in Helena, for those legislators partial to their cause.

It has become a hotbed of labor unionism and socialism.

 

VALUES

Equality, Group orientation, Environment

The Far West came to resent both corporations and the federal government, while at the same time demanding to receive federal financial support.  Its inhabitants rarely challenge its corporate masters, which continue to play a powerful hand in politics.

CORPORATE EXAMPLE- Wynn Resorts

Equality, Collaboration, Group orientation

“Money is great, good full time hours, you start training on first day, very helpful managers.”

“Good managers who care about your growth. Great pay and benefits. Hard to get promoted. Nobody leaves and limited growth at this time.”

“There are not many management positions available as you continue your career growth which makes it very hard to advance.”

◊◊◊

In sum, we are each the sum of our experiences and the product of our culture.  We have been shaped and influenced by the external forces that surround us.  Sometimes “different” is just that, and nothing else.  Much like the Native American proverb: Never criticize a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins.

Now with world-wide access to technology/globalization, the world is made smaller.  Your consumer is the world market, which is phenomenally diversified.  Corporate USA has to shelve the concept of the “Melting Pot” (i.e. having everyone assimilate into one style), because the “game board” has been replaced.  To operate on that “Old World model” is a strategy designed for failure.  The strength(s) of any system is to build upon its strengths as its brand, and diversify its C-Suite and Board to reflect the marketplace.

There’s a story behind your values.

Please see the other regions in this three-part series: the North, and the South.

 

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, a “dot” person, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners.  We increase retention.  Visit CorporateLookingGlass.com.

Resources:

Colin Woodard, American Nations. pp. 10-12, 214, 247, 249-251, 261

(Executive Names Withheld for Confidentiality Purposes)

Glassdoor.com

Quora

*For your information only.

How the “American Nations” Have Shaped USA Corporations – Second in a Series: The South

11 Nations

Historian Colin Woodard, author of American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America, examined the events of the past four centuries to understand the forces that drive our behaviors across the nation.

Woodard describes how the continental USA is comprised of primarily nine nations, since each region throughout the continent has a distinctive history that creates a unique identity — often times resulting in cross-cultural conflicts today. (There are another two nations located in Canada, with some spillover of the Midlands into Ontario). For simplicity’s sake, I’ve placed the nine nations of the USA into three regions: North, South, and West.

North

1) Yankeedom, 2) New Netherland, 3) The Midlands;

South

4) Tidewater, 5) Greater Appalachia, 6) the Deep South;

West

7) El Norte, 8) the Left Coast, 9) the Far West;

* Canada

10) New France (also exists in Louisiana — exception of New Orleans), 11) First Nation.

The focus of this blog is on the South, beginning with a brief account of the historical influences and values of each of the three nations that comprise the South; and an example, per nation, of a regional organization to illustrate how the values are reinforced and exemplified within the organizational culture.

We begin with “Tidewater.”

AREA- Tidewater

The area of Tidewater comprised of the lowlands of Virginia, Maryland, southern Delaware, and northeastern North Carolina.

HISTORY

Many of the so-called Tidewater elites were the unappreciated younger sons of southern English gentry.  They were unappreciated, because at the time of their relocation, the English culture was such that the first born son received the attention and riches, while the rest were typically considered somewhat a burden.  Despite being essentially disinherited, they openly called themselves aristocrats.  They were responsible for the aristocratic nuances in the Constitution, including the Electoral College and Senate – which legislators, not the electoral vote, determine who its members are to be.

Tidewater’s gentry embraced classical republicanism, meaning a republic modeled after those of ancient Greece and Rome.  Ancient Athens had the slaveholding elite, whose political philosophies revolved around the Latin concept of libertas, or liberty; which is entirely different from the Germanic concept of Freiheit, or freedom (which informed the political thought of the northern nations Yankeedom and The Midlands).  Liberty was a privilege extended to those born free; not to those born into bondage.  It was not considered a right.  As for freedom of speech in the Roman republic, only select people — senators and magistrates — had that liberty, the citizens had the right to vote, and the slaves had no say whatsoever.

VALUES

Hierarchy, Tradition, Particularism (i.e. subjective on rule application), Elitism (i.e. Status orientation)

A high value was placed on respect for authority and tradition, and very little on equality or public participation in politics.  Court records demonstrate conscious bias: leniency for masters and males; harsh sentences for servants and women.  Prince Edward County, Virginia, for example, deprived blacks and poor whites from a public education, until the Supreme Court ruled that that was unconstitutional.

CORPORATE EXAMPLE- AOL

Individualism, Top-Down (i.e. Hierarchy), Particularism (i.e. subjective on rule application), Elitism (i.e. Status orientation)

“A great atmosphere and working environment created for employees, multiple kitchens, healthy snacks beverages, massage chairs, showers, gyms and nap rooms. A unique experience for an in-house corporate video production company, creative content, numerous work travel opportunities.  A wide variety of video programming with television-style production including, music, entertainment, food, technology, style and fashion. Very high employee turnover rate a steady stream of layoffs, including executive-level positions, causing constant worry of termination.  Too many overlapping last minutes requests often caused improper workflows and employee stress.”

“The senior management really doesn’t care much about the company except for each for their own piece.”

“Did not see growth opportunities, they all went to the pets of VP and up.  Stop promoting people who can’t get anything done.”

 

AREA- Greater Appalachia

The southern tiers of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois; West Virginia, Kentucky, eastern Tennessee; the Ozarks of Arkansas and Missouri; the eastern two-thirds of Oklahoma: and the Hill Country of Texas.

HISTORY

Greater Appalachia was founded by the people from the war-ravaged British Isles, specifically Northern Ireland, northern England, and the Scottish lowlands.  Most embraced Presbyterianism.  Their experience of constant upheaval created a combative culture. Justice was carried out through personal retaliation, known as “blood feuds” – the most famous practiced by the families the Hatfields and the McCoys.  The word/verb “lynch” comes from Appalachian William Lynch, who advocated vigilante justice in the lawless backcountry of Virginia.

Their de facto currency for two centuries was whiskey (distilled corn).

VALUES

Honor, Justice, Liberty, Self-Rule, Competition, Group Orientation (i.e. Clans)

So many wars and disasters fostered a warrior ethic and a deep commitment to individual liberty and personal sovereignty.  The region has provided a substantial proportion of the USA’s military, from officers like Andrew Jackson, Davy Crockett, and Douglas MacArthur to the enlisted men fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.  In fact, Tennessee is known as the “Volunteer State” from its reputation to willingly enlist so many men in combat. They valued individualism liberty and personal honor above all else, and were happy to take up arms to defend either.

CORPORATE EXAMPLE- Yum!

Hierarchy, Self-Rule, Particularism – subjectivity to rule-application

“Make sure to look at everybody that does something in a department not just the top level. You have to remember that it is not always the supervisors or managers getting you the information that you may need. It might be someone that is a lower level that has come up everything you need and it is that person you should reward not always management.”

“The work life balance is the job’s biggest perks. Hours may be long during certain projects but no one is standing by the door to make sure you are in by 8.

The pay and benefits are not great, while not bottom of the barrel bad, you can find the same job (IT jobs) in the Louisville area paying over 20% more with better health insurance.

I have seen this place lay off very talented young individuals over people who had 5+ year experience who could not do 25% off what laid off person could do.”

AREA Deep South

The Deep South nation spreads across most of North Carolina; South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Louisiana; western Tennessee; and the southeastern parts of Arkansas, and Texas.

HISTORY

The Deep South was for at least 3 centuries (1670-1970) a caste society.  In a stratified society, class is economic and can change through hard work or marriage, whereas a caste is something one is born into and can never leave (marriage and intimate relations outside one’s caste is strictly forbidden).  However, having sex with one’s enslaved women and girls was perfectly acceptable, as long as the rich white men did it only for “fun.” South Carolinian Governor James Henry sired children/grandchildren with slaves, and said, “Slavery in the family will be their happiest earthly condition.” South Carolinian Senator Strom Thurmond (who left the USA Senate as recently as 2003, after having served for 48 years) impregnated his 16-year old black domestic help, covertly financially supported his daughter, while serving for decades as a strong advocate for segregation.

Culture Imperialism is when one culture imposes its ideals onto another culture.  The North attempted to socially engineer the democratization of the South with the Reconstruction; however, the Dixie Bloc became unified only after the Civil War because of its resistance to the Yankee-led Reconstruction.  Southerners were not ready to lose their “traditions,” “heritage,” and “way of life,” which they defended as a “Biblically-sanctioned” social system, inclusive of slavery.  Today, they continue to argue over keeping the Confederate flag prominent (See 2014 gubernatorial campaign 3-minute C-Span video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5yic_c1FME), and make subtle references to the period before the war with the Latin word antebellum (ante = before; bellum = war) – such as, antebellum architecture and  “Lady Antebellum.”

South Carolina’s Bob Jones University didn’t even admit black students until 1971, and prohibited interracial dating and marriage until 2000.  A high school in Rochelle, Georgia, held its first racially integrated “private” prom in 2013; the school bowed to pressure in 2014 to officially sanction the prom.  Today, the residuals of this historical social system has worked against blacks (and women) who offer tenure (seniority), years of specialty (experience), and/or merit (MBA’s and other advanced degrees), and are frequently denied promotion opportunities or consideration.

Woodard: “The goal of the Deep Southern oligarchy has been consistent for over four centuries: to control and maintain a one-party state with a colonial-style economy based on the extraction of primary resources by a compliant, low-wage workforce with as few labor, workplace safety, health care, and environmental regulations as possible.” “They create ‘guest worker’ programs to secure cheap labor from the developing world, and poach manufacturing jobs from higher-wage unionized industries in Yankeedom, New Netherland, or the Midlands.”

VALUES

Hierarchy, Particularism (i.e. Subjectivity to rule-application), High Context communication, Community orientation, Status Affiliation

The imported British ruling-class mentality of hierarchy, deference, inherited privilege, and aristocracy shaped this region’s identity.  Wealthy families assumed all of the plum and senior positions for successive generations, and openly called themselves aristocrats.  The region has been the bastion of white supremacy and a version of classical Republicanism (slave states), where democracy was a privilege provided to those not born into slavery.

CORPORATE EXAMPLE- Coca-Cola

Family/Group orientation, Particularism (i.e. Subjectivity to rule-application), Hierarchy, Power Distance

“There is a good work/life balance allowing for employees to spend time with family.” 

“Coca-Cola has great benefits as far as medical for both employee and family alike.”

“Management at the plant level should be based on skill sets and not friendships. Quality employee retention requires more than a ‘my way or the highway’ attitude. What exactly does HR do?”

◊◊◊

In sum, we are each the sum of our experiences and the product of our culture.  We have been shaped and influenced by the external forces that surround us.

There’s a story behind your values.

Next, and last, in the three-part series: the West (El Norte, the Left Coast, the Far West).

 

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, a “dot” person, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners.  Transitions made seamless.  Visit CorporateLookingGlass.com.

Resources:

Colin Woodard, American Nations. pp. 6, 9, 14, 53, 54, 55, 82-83, 88-89, 102, 104-105, 133-134, 144, 197, 227-228, 238-239,  264-266, 275-278, 283-284, 302

(Executive Names Withheld for Confidentiality Purposes)

Glassdoor.com

*For your information only.

How the “American Nations” Have Shaped USA Corporations – First in a Series: The North

11 Nations

Historian Colin Woodard, author of American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America, examined the events of the past four centuries to understand the forces that drive our behaviors across the nation.

Woodard describes how the continental USA is comprised of primarily nine nations, since each region throughout the continent has a distinctive history that creates a unique identity — often times resulting in cross-cultural conflicts today. (There are another two nations located in Canada, with some spillover of the Midlands into Ontario). For simplicity’s sake, the nine nations of the USA are placed into three regions: North, South, and West.

North

1) Yankeedom, 2) New Netherland, 3) the Midlands;

South (a.k.a. Dixie Bloc)

4) Tidewater, 5) Greater Appalachia, 6) the Deep South;

West

7) El Norte, 8) the Left Coast, 9) the Far West;

* Canada

10) New France (also exists in Louisiana — exception of New Orleans), 11) First Nation.

The focus of this blog is on the North.  Below is a brief account of the historical influences and values of each nation; and an example, per nation, of a regional organization to illustrate how the values are reinforced and exemplified within the organizational culture.

We begin with “Yankeedom.”

AREA- Yankeedom

The area of Yankeedom comprises the northern strips of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa, parts of the eastern Dakotas, and Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Canadian Maritimes.

HISTORY

Calvinists (a.k.a. Puritans) were strict about their associations with anyone who was not a member of their religion.  They would not allow anyone who did not convert to Calvinism to settle within their colony; violators were expelled (at best).  In order for everyone to read the Bible, everyone had to be literate.  Therefore, when a new town was established, public school houses and salaried teachers were the first aspects of infrastructure established, after church and home.  Harvard was founded just 6 years after the first Puritans had arrived.  The struggle for women’s suffrage was conceived and fought by reformers in Yankeedom, e.g.  Susan B. Anthony (Massachusetts Quakers), Lucy Stone, Elizabeth Cady Stanton; and Carrie Chapman Catt.

VALUES

Self-government, local political control, education, the Protestant work ethic, and direct democracy has remained central to Yankee culture.  All this would support the pursuit of the “greater good” of the community.

CORPORATE EXAMPLE- General Electric

Egalitarian, Professional Growth/Opportunities, Teamwork, Work Ethic

“It was remarkably egalitarian — if you had a PhD (and not a manager) you were a “member of technical staff”, and one salary bracket and totem pole included everyone from the new PhD’s to a Nobel Prize winner.”

“Cooperative employees with knowledge sharing which helps to build a good team.”

“Abundant opportunities to develop skills, Challenging assignments, Workload is huge.”

AREA- New Netherland

The area of New Netherland is what is now known as greater New York City, the most densely populated part of North America.

HISTORY

The Netherlands was so progressively liberal in its thinking and lifestyle that this is what prompted the Pilgrims to flee to the American wilderness…to exert stronger control over their children’s upbringing; not because they were suffering religious persecution.  By the time the Dutch West India Company founded New Amsterdam, the Netherlands’ role in the world economy at that time is equivalent to that of the USA in the late 20th century.  They were so far ahead of the rest of the people of 17th-century Europe with their commitment to free inquiry.  This practice led to their universities being second to none.

The New Netherland government’s primary focus was to promote world trade for the explicit purpose of financial gain, which meant that it was strategically obliged to embrace diversity in order to increase efficacy of process and production.  They did not “celebrate” diversity, rather, they tolerated it, because they knew the alternative was pragmatically far worse.  Insistence on conformity—cultural, religious, or otherwise—was self-defeating, causing strife and undermining trade and business.  Underscore: This nation was no more moral than its English counterparts.  Slavery was introduced to what is now the US by the merchants of Manhattan (early 17th century).

The English conquered New Amsterdam in 1664. New Netherland was renamed New York, the personal preserve of King Charles’s brother and heir, James, Duke of York.  But, the Dutch negotiated an unusual surrender agreement which was to ensure the survival of Dutch norms and values.  Nonetheless, most Dutch names were anglicized.  The city originally extended only as far as Wall Street- where, in fact, the Dutch had built a wall; and the main road, Breede weg (Broadway), passed through a gate in the wall and continued on past farms, fields, and forest to the village of Haarlem (Harlem).  Ferrymen rowed goods and people across the East River to the villages of Breukelen (Brooklyn), Vlissingen (Flushing), Vlacke Bos (Flatbush) and New Utrecht (now a Brooklyn neighborhood), or across the harbor to Hoboken and Staaten Eylandt (Staten Island).

VALUES

Tolerance, upward mobility, and an overwhelming emphasis on private enterprise are tenets which are really the legacy of the United Provinces of the Netherlands.  And, while New Netherland had Tammany Hall (i.e. political machine associated with corruption and abuse of power), it has come to value cultural diversity, freedom of conscience, and freedom of expression.

 

CORPORATE EXAMPLE- Goldman Sachs

Strong Diversity, Work Ethic, Meritocracy, Entrepreneurialism

“Goldman Sachs genuinely makes a concerted effort to hire a diverse pool of people and ensure that there is a culture fit at the point of hiring. This is definitely not PR/lip service to the concept but a fundamental belief amongst senior management.”

“Environment conducive to taking initiative, challenges and making your opinions count.  Hard work. Long hours. You may have to forgo the ‘life’ part of the ‘work-life balance’ sometimes!”

“There is an entrepreneurial culture/attitude which is part of the DNA of the firm and allows anyone with a good idea to flourish and succeed. There is a great collegiate atmosphere on the trading floors where MD’s will sit next to new graduates and share thoughts and experiences.”

AREA- The Midlands

The English Quakers arrived to the shores of Delaware Bay, and formed its cultural hearth in southeastern Pennsylvania.  The Midlands nation includes northern Delaware and Maryland, southern New Jersey, central Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, northern Missouri, most of Iowa; and the eastern halves of South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas.  It shares Chicago (with the Yankees) and St. Louis (with Greater Appalachia).

HISTORY

Most Midlanders have been of German descent- not Anglo-Saxons- comprising the largest group in this area, since the late 1600’s.  They have been extremely skeptical of top-down governmental intervention.

The Midlands was founded by Quakers (a.k.a Friends), and William Penn was one of the most famous Quakers in England and quite affluent.  Penn’s vision was to create an environment where people of different faiths and ethnic backgrounds could live together in harmony.  He stood for personal (political and religious) liberty.  The Quaker religion had no special status within the colony’s government, because Quakers live(d) by example, not by coercion.  The first formal protest (1712) against slavery in North America was articulated by German Quakers in Germantown, PA.    Penn ran the colonial government for several years without collecting taxes.  In 1682, Penn sent 23 ships to Pennsylvania carrying 2,000 colonists. He was able to populate Philadelphia in just four years to 8,000 — a level that took the Tidewater nation more than 6x as long to achieve (25 years), and the New France nation nearly 16x as long (70 years).

Indiana’s borderlanders referred to themselves as “Hoosiers,” a Southern slang term for “a frontier hick” (having come from Kentucky or West Virginia), and was adopted as a badge of honor by the Appalachian people of Indiana.

VALUES

Pluralism (i.e. the belief that people of a different faith, race, class, etc., can live together harmoniously) has largely contributed to making the Midlands the most philosophically autonomous of the nations.  Being American had nothing to do with one’s ethnicity, religion, or language; it was a spirit or state of mind.

Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom & no such thing as publick (sic) liberty without freedom of speech.” – Benjamin Franklin, 1722.

 

CORPORATE EXAMPLE- Hershey’s

Self-Direction, Work Ethic, Community, Egalitarianism

“From the top down there is a very clear message of where Senior Management wants the company to go and how everyone is expected to work hard to get there. Additionally, as you go about your daily work, you hear people talking about these goals and how they can meet them through their work. This creates a very unified atmosphere to work in and pushes everyone to perform.

If you require a lot of direction, then Hershey may not be for you. We tend to try and push decision making to the lowest levels that it makes sense to do so.”

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In sum, we are each the sum of our experiences and the product of our culture.  We have been shaped and influenced by the external forces that surround us.  Identity is destiny.

There’s a story behind your values.

Next in the three-part series: The South (Tidewater, Greater Appalachia, the Deep South).

 

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, a “dot” person, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners. Transitions made seamless. Visit CorporateLookingGlass.com.

Resources:

Colin Woodard, American Nations. Pp. 5-7, 57, 60, 65-68, 70, 95, 97, 144, 184, 190, 257, 260, 269, 297, 308

(Executive Names Withheld for Confidentiality Purposes)

Quora: Rex Goldman, Arpita Shah, Ken Meltsner

*For your information only

50 Shades and the Workplace

Originally posted on http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/50-shades-and-the-workplace-dsh/

50

People often say, “Talent joins organizations, and leaves bosses.” The chemistry, synergy, feel—or whatever you wish to call it—of the organization is not sufficient to retain the recruited talent. While the onus of retention falls on both boss and talent, the subordinate often ends up in a relationship with a boss that just doesn’t fit. This leads the subordinate to decide whether s/he must leave the organization or try to adjust to the boss’s demands. This dilemma mirrors the one examined in the story 50 Shades of Grey.

50 Shades is a story about how one (psychologically tormented) person offers a less experienced person a contract to sign as an agreement to fulfill certain tasks. The subordinate is lured by the branding—the attractiveness of the package (i.e. Christian Grey). Ultimately, while it is the first part of a trilogy, the subordinate (i.e. Anastasia) is constantly questioning herself as to whether she should stay within a relationship that doesn’t feel entirely “right.”

In every relationship (e.g. professional, personal, or in commerce), we are faced with the decision as to whether the engagement, partnership, or transaction works for us and/or benefits us. We as consumers and employees vote with our dollars, just as we vote with our feet. We don’t spend money on widgets which are uninteresting. We leave places which don’t “tickle our fancy.”

♦◊♦

And, since time is money, we are most productive and thrive when we earn our money by spending our time doing what we do best, and by enjoying what it is that we do. That is our passion. Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu (551-479 BC) said: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Which brings us to choosing a job/relationship we love in an environment where we feel safe. A safe workplace is one where the job description is specific, individual expression is appreciated, the leadership is authentic, no harm is done (verbal, physical, emotional, etc.), and the organizational culture is transparent—not simply rhetoric or plaques on a wall.

An unsafe workplace is one where the job description shifts with each quarter, conformity is expected, the leadership is withholding, co-workers are abusive (verbally, physically, emotionally, etc.), and the organizational culture demands adherence to top-down structural office politics.

50 Shades exposes us to how susceptible we are to the dangers of living in an unsafe environment. These unsafe environments also creep up all the time in the workplace. Therefore, leaders must be aware that creating unsafe workplace environments puts employees in predicaments, which force them to choose between steady work and sound emotional health.

♦◊♦

In an unsafe work environment, the following behaviors result:

  • No Corporate Policy on Sexual Discrimination. E.g. Court fines paid on sexual harassment while the harassers keep their jobs.
  • Leader-Member Exchange Theory. E.g. Strategic inquiries are taboo.
  • “Right to Work.” E.g. People fired for having personal lives or speaking up.
  • Traditional Cultural Schemas. E.g. No paternal leave policy.
  • Unconscious Bias. Promotions based on personality; not on tenure or merit.
  • Insider/Outsider Dynamics. HR turns a blind eye on discrimination/bullying; or, they are the perpetrators of discrimination and bullying.

In an unsafe workplace environment, employees typically develop four types of coping strategies. The first two of the employee types below co-align with the 50 Shades protagonist.

Employee Type in Toxic Organization Relationship/Description (& extra movie example)

  1. Denier- This type of individual believes that the dominant culture is correct. What is practiced is okay, sanctioned, acceptable, and is clearly a “success” because there is money to endorse whatever behavior is practiced. There is little to no need to change anything; in fact, the culture should be strengthened and perpetuated by any means possible. Any exception made is a means to obtain the end goal. (50 Shades protagonist makes minor changes to the contract demands, and acquiesces).MOVIE: The Reader
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTXXSYQ_H38
    “You’re not guilty of anything merely by working at…”
    “The question was never ‘Was it wrong?’ but ‘Was it legal?’ and not by our laws?”
  1. Sympathizer- This type of individual understands that what is practiced within the workplace (see concrete list of behaviors above) is not completely ethical and/or acceptable. While the practices may not illegal, they do not sit well with the individual; however, the money/attraction is there, so this type keeps his/her mouth shut, and stands silently by as others are ushered out. They typically also excommunicate those who are not a part of the inside circle of practices (50 Shades protagonist did this with her flatmate).MOVIE: Jobs
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w96oTapYTKk
    Bill did not agree with Steve Jobs decision to fire their best programmer just because the programmer dissented – the programmer had asked for clarification on the decision to delay the deadline just to add fonts. Nonetheless, Bill only offered passive resistance and a lot of grimacing.
  1. Survivor- This type of individual knows exactly what is happening within the workplace, yet continues to work at the company until s/he can find something better. S/He has adequate knowledge and experience, but is not out to rock the boat. In the meantime, covert outreach is made to reach out to those who have been unjustly treated.MOVIE: The Help

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWHp2Bn0kdQ

    “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”
    Aibileen reassures little Mae that she has value, despite being put down repeatedly by Aibileen’s employer (the girl’s mother).           

  1. Change Agent- This type of individual is ready to speak out against unhealthy practices, for him/herself and others. S/He may try to subtly redirect the culture towards organizational health, but, ultimately, this person either walks or is let go/fired.MOVIE: The Bourne Identity.
    Bourne’s official resignation: “I don’t want to do this anymore.” Supervisor Conklin scoffed at the notion, for nobody quits in his CIA…they were killed – either by him or by the enemy. Bourne stated emphatically that such an arrangement was unacceptable.                                                                                                                                   

♦◊♦

Because organizational culture trickles down from the top, it is imperative that talent understands “the way they do things around here” before joining. Otherwise, talent may find themselves in toxic relationships, and be placed into the position of one of the above-described types. Unhealthy situations also have a ripple effect that extends to those at home.

What’s your safe word?

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is based in Nashville, Tennessee.  She is a Global Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, a “dot” person, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners.

© Rossina Gil, 2015

Resources:
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/confucius134717.html#MMm3vGws8eJ6fVi8.99
http://www.scene-stealers.com/top-10s/top-10-i-quit-movie-scenes/

– See more at: http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/50-shades-and-the-workplace-dsh/#sthash.7ZQFS2Kj.dpuf