Traditions are more than memories:
Diversity and inclusion are important. We may know this yet we often feel discomfort. As I scrolled through Facebook this morning, I was greeted with a post of group photos from past Terry Fox Runs. This was a tradition in our office. Sometimes I went on my own, sometimes with my family. But we did this annual 5 km run, rain or shine. I was blessed with a boss who valued tradition and made time for connecting our teams. According to Merriam-Webster, tradition means ‘cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions’. According to the Conference Board CEO Challenge 2017 Survey, in the eyes of CEO’s, organizational culture and quality talent are the critical enablers of success. Yet employee engagement and integrating diversity continue to be challenges for leaders. Tradition should not be neglected or undervalued.
The role of tradition to introduce change:
- Build on what is known and comfortable.
- Connect with something that is bigger than the individual.
- Share values, beliefs and understanding.
- Embrace culture and attitudes to move forward.
- When pressure mounts, listen to reactions and interesting beliefs.
Creating space for diversity and inclusion:
My parents came to Canada with only a suitcase and their traditions. As our family grew, we began new traditions but the essence of my Dutch heritage stays with me today. Although we began with their traditional celebrations, we adopted new traditions naturally over time. A few years back, a new elementary school was built in our community. It supported student families from three zones. We worked with the parent-teacher committee to bring traditions from each of the schools. We realized it was important that all families felt included from the beginning. Then, over the next few years, events were tweaked to better reflect the current families. As a result, new traditions were introduced. Likewise, as corporations and communities work diligently on diversity and inclusion, tradition needs to be a focus. Otherwise action plans will continue to be derailed without this recognition for the important role of tradition.
When we hear ‘That’s not the way we do things!’ rather than countering with an argument, we have an opportunity to explore the belief behind the statement. Using Logosynthesis as a tool, we can begin to effectively calm reactions and create a safe space for change. To learn more on this topic, read Logosynthesis: Enjoying Life More Fully by Cathy Caswell or send us a message.