It’s my Company Culture if I SAY it is….Right?
So earlier this week I ran a fascinating
post history lesson about Lupercalia – an ancient Roman festival that many say was the origin of St. Valentine’s Day. Some people contend that the Christmas celebration replaced worship of Mithra or Baal and that Easter is but a dressed up and evolutionary celebration of the goddess Ishtar. Among scholars and historians there’s an understanding that the Popes or other religion-founding-fathers hijacked existing and long-standing customs in order to aid in the conversion of a sun-worshipping people into a son-worshipping people.
And while many people are quite content to celebrate the Christian-centered meaning of the holidays and holy days, even though they may have pagan roots, there are also a sizable number of Christians who refuse to celebrate some of these days due to their original meaning.
In the workplace we often rely on language to infuse new meaning into things we’re doing; words do make a difference, right? (ask any marketing or PR person…). The “Employee of the Month” Award becomes the “Superstar Celebration.” The annual salary adjustments become “Targeted Performance and Pay Adjustments.” We institute “Workplace Flexibility” and let our employees know its just results that matter – not clock-punching.
But the underlying rationale, practices and meanings are still as they were in the historical mists of time. The employee who takes us up on our offer of flexibility finds that she is not viewed as a serious contributor because she hits the road at 5 PM – even though she works into the wee hours of the morning to deliver her results. We wonder why no one nominates their peers for the”Superstar Celebration,” because we are blind to the fact that many employees understand it’s just a gussied-up phrase for the original Employee of the Month Award which has always gone to the brown-nosing syncophants.
Everything has a history. Everything has an origin and evolves from something that came before it – whether at the tabernacle or in the board room.