Yesterday I was at Australian Technology Park, Sydney’s original rail works converted to center for technology and innovation whilst maintaining historical buildings and features. What struck me was the men’s urinal placed outside against a very public wall. Walking past this historical feature I reflected on how such a physical object (in the era of the sites operation as a rail works) would be a physical manifestation of the male macho culture rail works where known for. Thinking that the culture would have tried to changed in the last years of the sites operation during the 1970/80′s, yet physical manifestations such as this would have maintained the cultural status quo, no matter how much the workplace was trying to evolve with the modern times.
This thought lead me to reflect on what are the physical manifestations of my teams culture?:
- We have a pin board with a photo collage of past and present team members. This is a representation of how we value our team members, both past and present.
- We only keep equipment and resources that are working, current, used and of value to student learning. This establishes that we don’t keep (physically or ideologically) what no longer works or will not be used.
- We have quality second hand furniture set out in a way that maximises the use of space. This models space as a technology, but also that education is about the effective use of scarce resources.
- Every team members has tablet and laptop. This empowers anywhere anytime technology and communication defining the culture of communication and collaboration.
- We only have posters, picture or signs that are positive and relate to learning (excluding statutory WH&S, etc posters). This sets the positive educationally focused tone for the team.
- We have a defined collaboration space within our professional space that is not owned by anyone. This ensures that collaboration isn’t just talked about but enabled to happen.
“If you don’t define your team culture, it will define you!”
Negative physical manifestations of team culture educational leaders should be more aware off:
- Negative de-motivational posters like this or this anywhere in professional spaces. Don’t just remove the posters, remove cause and cultures that drive the thinking behind such bill posts.
- A lack of spaces for professional collaboration. How can we talk about collaboration if we don’t provide suitable spaces to enable it.
- Hording resources and equipment beyond their useful life. How can we expect our team to adopt new pedagogies, ideas and cultures if we model the inability to let go of the old.
- Sterile spaces, in search of looking innovative (other extreme of hording). Always remember humans live here, clean white spaces are pretty in “Good Homes Magazine” but they don’t encourage use.
“If your physical manifestations don’t match your team culture, or if your team culture doesn’t match your physical manifestations, it might not actually be the team culture…”