Monday, November 2, 2009

Does Your Organisation Boo?

The air was electric as I looked over a sea of bobbing blue caps hotdog in hand. It was my first Chicago Cubs baseball game at historic Wrigley Field and I was loving every minute of it. With every crack of bat to ball my breath paused, my neck arched and I took another bite of my fabulous Chicago dog.

That day, like so many others, was not the a day for Cubs victory – but one moment definitely stood out. The opposing team hit a huge fly ball right…. out…. into centre field… home run.

All of a sudden the crowd started to boo and howl wildly. My husband asked me why the Cubs fans were showing such poor sportsman ship. Being a nerd (with access to Wikipedia on my iPhone), I knew exactly what the boos were about.

It was soon readily apparent to all Australian tourists at the game that the booing wasn’t about the home run. The boos were about the fan who caught the home run ball keeping the home run ball from the opposing team! Culturally speaking, Chicago Cubs fans throw back the opposing team’s homers and nearly every one of the 35,000 people at the game let their feelings be well known on the subject!

Now whether you agree with throwing back the homer or not (my husband adamantly states that regardless of the boo-ing, he’d be keeping that homer!) you’ve got to admit, this is a very clear indication of the culture of Wrigley Field.

Is the culture within your organisation as readily apparent to new comers? Now I’m not suggesting that you should be getting boo-ed by 35 accountants in your firm when you don’t refill the paper in the photocopier. But I am wondering how comfortable the team around you feel about pointing out when someone isn’t living up to your office culture? Does the new guy know that in your firm you reward other’s successes, you actively engage with the people around you, you say good morning with a smile each day, you don’t take shortcuts, you get your filing and other little tasks done, you treat even the most junior of staff members with respect…. And who amongst his peers will figuratively boo at him if he doesn’t?

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