Culture - Jellybeans and George Clooney

Later today I will speak about Culture to an audience of Project and Program Management professionals at the 2011 PMI Houston Conference. 

We live in a day and age where culture matters.  It matters in everything we do.  Building culture is about "Creating Uniqueness and Leanring To Understand and Respect Everyone" - C U L T U R E.

You need two things to make culture work and to sustain it.  Diversity and inclusion.

Diversity is not just about ethnicity.  It's about going beyond the surface of the iceberg deep into cold waters of your ego taking personal risk to develop trust and respect for another person assuming they come from the right place and will bring something different to the table.   It's about finding the common values system and using them to coach the best outcome

Humans have been fighting 'difference' for years.  Wars have been fought over land, people, natural resources, accessibility, name it, we've fought over it. Sadly, we still do. With the rise of globalization and connectedness long-awaiting after the boom of the Internet 1.0 and now social media, diversity has taken on a whole new meaning.  It's about appreciation of difference - color, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, faith, life experience, preferences, style (the list is exhaustive).  Leader who leverage it are naturally blessed with high performance teams.

Inclusion is equally important.  Inclusion drives committment, buy-in and boy is it sticky.  Inclusion makes people want to follow a leader, an idea or implement and drive a winning outcome.  It makes people feel heard, valued and respected.  Leaders who create a safe space for inclusion in their teams are the ones that see the best results in their people.   They also benefit from getting trust, quicker than those who ignore or aren't aware of inclusion as a tool for influence.

Both diversity and inclusion are a leaders choice.  You can choose to promote this freely and reap the benes of reliability, performance, trust and sustainability.  Sounds pretty good to me!

So what do jelly beans and George Clooney have to do with it?  Ah, well... come visit me and my colleague, Jennifer Emerson at the George R. Brown Convention Center tomorrow and learn more about how to .... Create Uniqueness and Learn To Understand and Respect Everyone....   and build C U L T U R E !

Until then,

Katie Mehnert

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