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Family Culture, the Key to Family Harmony and Strength: lessons from leadership

Torben Rick shows the hidden aspects of workplace culture using an iceberg as a metaphor. That is, the mission, goals, vision and values of an organisation is above the water – this is the way we present how we do things around here. The things hidden under the water though, influence how things are actually done around here. These include personal values, beliefs traditions and assumptions to name a few. For more information, see Torben Ricks article and infographic here http://www.torbenrick.eu/blog/change-management/iceberg-that-sinks-organizational-change/ .

Drawing on Torben’s work and also on Steven Covey, family culture can be viewed in a similar way. We create our family culture often organically without much thought as to how we got here, what we each bring to the family dynamic and where it comes from. We tend not to choose what we as a family stand for and how we want to be because it has always been that way – perhaps never spoken but assumed, known and accepted as it is.

Similarly to the workplace, the things we assume and accept without question, often unconsciously, can influence our expectations and behaviours. They can impact for example, the way we express emotions, how we celebrate, how we have fun and how we manage conflict.

Culture infographic

By having conversations within our family about our history, what we stand for and where we are headed, we can begin to uncover some of our assumptions. We can also celebrate where our traditions come from, decide the behaviours we want and build a foundation that supports us and helps each of us grow. We can create a way of being together that we all want and that we all understand and share.

As children enter their teen years and are creating their own iceberg, this becomes especially important. A shared understanding of our family culture, what we stand for and how we want to be, gives them mutually agreed boundaries around behaviour and conflict management and supports them towards their independence.

Create a shared understanding: suggested questions to ask each other at dinner or at a time when you are together.

  • What is important to us?
  • What do we believe in?
  • What are our traditions and where do they come from?
  • How do we want to feel in our family?
  • What behaviours do we like?
  • What behaviours don’t we like?

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments

If you would like to know more about creating shared values and a positive harmonious culture in your family then check out our 6 hour online course Parenting for Connection and Harmony. There is loads of practical information and tools in this course that you can put into practice straight away.

References and Resources

Marcia Carteret, M. (2015). Culture and Family Dynamics | Dimensions of Culture. [online] Dimensionsofculture.com. Available at: http://www.dimensionsofculture.com/2010/11/culture-and-family-dynamics/ [Accessed 10 Mar. 2015].

Steven Covey (1997). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families: Simon and Shuster

Successfulculture.com, (2015). What Is Your Family’s Culture? | Successful Culture. [online] Available at: http://successfulculture.com/what-is-your-familys-culture/ [Accessed 10 Mar. 2015].

The Art of Manliness, (2015). Fathering With Intentionality: The Importance of Creating a Family Culture. [online] Available at: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/07/22/family-culture/ [Accessed 10 Mar. 2015].

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