Chapter 2

Group culture

“No one is special, and everyone is needed

Marshall McLuhan

Think about the group you are working within.

Are you mindful about the ways you work and relate to your allies and colleagues?

What are your intentions and aspirations as a group? Are they shared? 

What is your “group culture”?

Every group, including families, organisations and collectives has their own dominant culture. 

Most of the time, people would struggle to articulate what their group culture is. Like the fish in McLuhan quote, we grow and learn to swim in water without it ever being explained to us. 

That oblivion is why it is even more important for you and your group to make an effort to understand and identify what kind of group culture you want – and to stop and change direction if you are veering from your aim.

When starting a new group or even within more established groups, take the time to have a conversation with all members to discuss the culture you would like to create. 

To facilitate this discussion, you can follow a simple, five step process: 

  1. Think of an exercise that allows people to arrive in the group space. This might be a game or something fun that helps to break the ice. 
  2. Ask everyone to think of a time when they felt really welcome and part of a group where they could grow. 
  3. Bring everyone to a plenary and ask them to share what memories came to mind. 
  4. Ask people to form small groups and reflect on what was shared. What key principles would you all like the group to follow?
  5. Invite people to share how they think the conversation went and agree what your culture should be. 

Once you have agreed on what kind of culture you want your group to have, make sure you commit to practice that culture.

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Here are some useful links