Thursday, August 22, 2013

Who Moved My Culture?

We know culture is a moving target.  Some shifts we see, others are not so noticeable.  One shift that has happened subtly is a result of the manufacturing shift of the U.S.  To get my thought across you have to endure a small history lesson.  (I love history, but for those who do not….sorry.)

Since the industrial revolution until recently, the U.S. was primarily a manufacturing nation.  Factories and assembly lines ran the country and our culture. We were a nation of manufacturers.  One of the many impacts of this environment was a culture dominated by left-brain work habits.  The work was logical, sequential and it looked at the parts more than the whole. Assembly lines tend to be just that, lines.  Work was linear and that impacted our thinking.  During the peak of the industrial revolution the linear way of thinking shaped western culture. 

Many corporations and organizations in turn created structures very ‘left-brain’ oriented.  Even the U.S. church set itself up this way.  Sunday school curriculum, board meetings and etc. were mainly set up the same way.  Funding was even all done by and large the same way.  In order for these systems to work well they needed to be interchangeable, so similarity in function was key.  US automakers perfected this. Once something succeeded we mass produced it.  The US church even tried this by attempting to mass produce church growth strategies.

Then things changed.  In the past several years we have seen the shift from the US being a manufacturing country to a service based country.  We sell and fix items manufactured in other regions. This shift has subtly changed the work environment from the sequential and linear focus on parts to a more synthesizing and cyclical view of the whole. In other words, we have experienced a shift from a left-brain culture to what is becoming a right-brain culture. One is not better than the other, but they are different.  We need to see the difference and not be naïve to the impact it has.

Transformational Giving has principles based in age old truths that transcend culture.  However, the strategies of implantation may vary based on culture. So what about TG can be maximized in the upcoming right-brain culture? 

  • TG emphasizes the role of the champion over the role of the organization.  This links well with synthesized thinking versus sequential thinking.
  • TG emphasizes the role of the champion as a part of the whole.  This links well with the right-brain desire to be holistic and not simply think that when my part is done the project is finished for me.
  • TG emphasizes the role of the champion to influence others for the cause.  This links well with cyclical thinking as opposed to linear thinking.
  • TG emphasizes the responsibility of the champion to use their gifts.  This links well in the move from assembly line and cookie cutter thinking to being creative and using personal giftedness for the cause.

There are several more ways TG can be maximized in this cultural shift.  What are some you can think of? Are some of our communication and fund-raising styles no longer suited to the current culture?

No comments:

Post a Comment