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Managing to Make a Difference by Larry Sternberg

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Chapter 48Curate Your Organization's Folklore

Every human being is an unconscious cultural anthropologist. New employees learn the most about your culture through daily observation. They hear stories. They watch other people work. Every single day, they learn more about what gets celebrated and rewarded, what gets punished, and what gets ignored. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how people really learn the most about your culture. It is not at all helpful to new employees to mislead them about what your culture really is. It does not work. You cannot fool a good anthropologist.

The stories people tell say a lot about an organization's culture. Stories stick. The backbone of history and culture, stories have been the vehicle for sharing information and transmitting values for millennia. What are the stories that get told and retold in your organization? They are the foundation for your organization's folklore. How can you leverage the power of stories to shape your organization's culture? Continually look for new stories, repeat old ones, and create platforms for telling and retelling the stories that exemplify and empower your organization's culture. Consider these examples:

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