We have a new puppy.
She arrived last Friday.
We’ve spent the weekend on-boarding her to the family.
We’re helping her understand our values.
Laughter is good.
Feeling safe is more important than being right.
We don’t poo on the carpet.
And she’s teaching us the outside can be fun in winter.
Like any tight knit bunch, we operate within a values-based framework. (We don’t call it a values-based framework, we call it “That’s just what we do” – but it’s the same thing.)
These values guide our behaviours.
And they inform the way we speak.
A lot of the communication has been highly emotional. Dogs, like people, don’t necessarily understand the specifics of the words, but they do understand tone.
“Well done” spoken with a smile and a lilt has a very different effect than “DON’T!” followed by being grabbed by the scruff of the collar and hauled outside.
Luckily, this technique also works on puppies.
We say the same things, in the same ways, and she learns.
And, as it turns out, so do we.
Smudge (the dog) is new to our organisation.
New is change.
Change can be disruptive.
Or it can be a chance to reaffirm what’s good about who we are.
That’s the thing about organisational culture.
Every new person means a change in the culture.
Sometimes it’s big change, sometimes it’s not so big.
This is why it’s important to know your values.
Especially if you’re a large organisation with lots of people coming and going.
Keep it simple.
Make it relevant.
Make sure the messages – verbal or emotional – are consistent (at least on the important stuff).
And don’t poo on the carpet.