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The Unique Way We Do Things Around Here
Strong team cultures share a common quality. They have a particular way of doing a lot of things. From how they celebrate to how they start meetings, great cultures invent unique ways of doing common activities in an uncommon way.
Some of the distinctive ways of doing things arise organically from the creative whim of a team member and then become replicated and amplified because others appreciate them.
Other special ways of doing things are introduced by leaders who hope the pattern will take off with wider acceptance. Still other team idiosyncrasies are inherited from leaders and teams from years earlier. They stick because they help to define what makes the culture special.
Observe a powerful team culture and you will see a host of everyday practices that have a unique or precise spin to them. From how feedback is offered to how ideas are discussed and debated, the possibilities are infinite. From personal greetings to the snack items available between breaks, even the smallest gesture or choice can come to represent the distinctive quality of a culture.
Before long, the way things get done is passed along to every new team member, who, over time, comes to understand the importance of doing things “Our Way.” They also come to accept the idea that the culture is distinctive and, to fit in and succeed, they must learn the way the team does things. That is how team cultures become resilient and enduring.
A favorite saying of the comedian Steve Martin is: “There’s no place like this place anywhere near this place. So this must be the place.” Those words ring true when describing any powerful team culture. “Our Way” is a code for how cultures emerge and become thick with meaning.