One of the books I’m currently working my way through is Henry Cloud’s “Boundaries for Leaders.” It’s taking the boundaries concept that he wrote on years ago and applying it to a business context.
When it comes to the type of culture (or environment) that your business or organization has, Cloud is pretty clear. I’ll paraphrase:
Your culture is the reality of what you create and what you allow.
In other words, actions and inactions both have consequences. You create a culture when you clarify expectations and set goals. You create a culture when you reaffirm good decisions and reward positive outcomes. A vivid, well-articulated vision is creating a path forward.
You’re also creating a culture by what you allow to happen. If you set an expectation but never follow-through when it isn’t met, you’re allowing an environment of irresponsibility. If you allow sloppiness or tardiness or other similar behaviors, you are creating a culture that devalues excellence and respect. If you allow poisonous gas to creep in through the air vents, don’t be surprised when people start dropping like flies.
This relationship between create and allow is true not only in business but in relationships, churches, and personal lives. Your relationship with your son or daughter is in part the result of what you create and what you allow.
This connection between create and allow places the burden squarely on our shoulders. It removes the victim mentality and compels us to accept responsibility for the things we create and the things we allow.
But more than that, it is also empowering. I can create a more positive, enabling work or home environment. I don’t have to allow negative, immoral, or unethical situations to exist.
Create and allow. Think through your own situation and ask these two questions:
- What am I doing to create a more positive culture or environment?
- What do I need to stop allowing in order to make things better?