Steven Pressfield’s post on culture hit me at the perfect time. In it, he talks of institutional culture (Apple, NASCAR, The Marines)… but more importantly, the power of personal culture.
But there’s such a thing as individual culture as well. A personal culture unique to one individual. Personal culture is what you and I have to have, and if we don’t have it, we have to acquire it. As artists and entrepreneurs we must design, construct, and perpetuate an interior culture that is as vivid, unique, and self-empowering as that of the corporations and institutions we work with and compete against.
Pressfield stresses the role of self in our work. Yes, most of us work for larger companies with their own cultures. But it’s the personal culture that can help us do our best creative work that aligns with our beliefs and desires.
Never was this more apparent than in our recent company planning session for 2014. We shared an institutional culture – meeting together with a shared feeling of the importance on planning and direction for the agency – but our personal cultures came to the forefront through recommendation and goals on what we wanted to do as individuals in the coming year.
Here’s how Pressfield describes culture:
A culture (in an institution or an individual) is comprised of a belief system, a style, a clearly-defined aspiration, a set of virtues that are cultivated and a set of vices that are forbidden or at least discouraged.
For me, my current culture includes the following:
- Practicing a level of design that is clear, smart, and fun
- A high level of respect for the beautiful
- Human relationships driven by humor, empathy, politeness, and generosity
- Valuing cleanliness, organization, and timeliness
- Expressing myself through written and audio outlets
Note the use of “current” – personal culture mature over time.
Because the new culture, if it’s true, will be a deeper, more authentic version of the older one.
2014 is sure to be a big year for the agency and I. Through the power of personal culture, I can bring my beliefs, style, and virtue to HB to both better myself and the agency.