Culture…by Definition

There’s tons of lip service paid to culture these days, but few people really appreciate the intimate connections between culture, change, and storytelling. It goes to the heart of what many of us are really up to.

“If you want to learn about a culture listen to the stories. If you want to change a culture, change the stories.” – Axiom #7, Believe Me, a storytelling manifesto for change-makers

Culture is the fabric of our lives. Every organization, every group, every team, has its own unique cultural logic. Culture represents the given assumptions for what is or isn’t acceptable. The mechanisms of culture define norms of behavior and informs decision-making. The way we set boundaries and determine possibilities is based on our culture. So if you’re trying to reframe the conversation or redefine how people think about an issue, you been understand the role of culture.

The business anthropologist Grant McCracken has been a huge inspiration of mine over the years. Grant recently published the book Chief Culture Officer, which is receiving lots of buzz across the business and innovation communities. I remember reading one of Grant’s earlier book’s Culture and Consumption back when I was a anthro major in college.

I’ll be speaking more about the links between culture and storytelling in many posts to follow. In the meantime, check out McCracken’s work, he’s even set-up a Ning online community. You should also download a free digital copy of my storytelling manifesto.