4 Ways Star Trek Can Inspire a Better Culture

by Matt Monge

Culture, an organization’s unique identity, can be described in many different ways.  While each culture looks different, great cultures can create new possibilities. They are often filled with people who share a contagious enthusiasm to connect, solve, create, and bring new ideas to the world. They also understand clearly that they are not perfect, but are committed to continuous self-improvement. A great culture can truly become a strategic differentiator.

Unhealthier cultures, on the other hand, can be troublesome and even damaging in many ways. They can negatively impact our work, they can slow us down, they can suck the energy out of us, and in some cases they can put our organizations at risk. When describing a culture that needs help, we might hear things like: Our culture is nice, but no one really trusts each other. I’m afraid we have a culture of fear. Our culture is friendly buteveryone operates in silos. We have a passive-aggressive culture.

It’s enough to want to give ourselves a Vulcan Mind Meld.

When we describe our culture in a negative way, there is often a tendency to blame and disassociate ourselves from it.  It’s as if the culture is the Borg: a separate entity that doesn’t include us. [Just in case you’re not a Star Trek fan, the Borg is an alien species that become cybernetic organisms and function as drones of the Collective where no single individual exists. Yes, it’s pretty cool.]  We often blame culture as being the barrier or “issue” that gets in the way of doing good work, developing talent, building the next generation of leaders, and helping us achieve our purpose as an organization. But our culture is not somewhere out there. It’s each of us. It’s a diverse collection of our individual behaviors and actions that blend together to make a unique organizational finger print. Since we are all the culture, we all need to take responsibility for it.

Here are four ways you can make a difference in building a healthier culture:

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