Authentic Cultural Stories Shape Who We Are

In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell set out to help us understand that the culture we’re part of and the people we surround ourselves with shape who we are and (who we become). As he writes, “Cultural legacies are powerful forces. They have deep roots and long lives…and they play such a role in directing attitudes and behavior that we cannot make sense of our world without them.”

This has been the case since humans first populated the earth. Each tribe’s set of stories taught members–and reminded them throughout their lives–who they were, how they viewed the world, and what their place in the world was. These stories formed the foundation of decision-making for life.

The same principle is true today. Each organization we join becomes another “tribe” that influences our world view and guides our choices. It’s crucial to listen to the stories a prospective employer tells, and to stay tuned to the organization’s stories once you’re on board. As noted in my previous post, the personal and business-related stories that a CEO and other leaders tell reveal values that each employee must identify with and support for the entire organization–and each individual in it–to thrive.

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