Way back when, I did community development for the Town of Penhold, Alberta, where I lived. A big part of my role was something called Community Capacity Building, which is, in essence, working with community to build local resilience, autonomy and capacity when navigating social issues. 

Members of the community came forward to express concerns about issues impacting the children and youth of the community, namely bullying and drugs. I convened several community meetings to discuss the issues and determine what might be the best community response. It was a priority for us to work together as a community to impact these issues ourselves rather than sitting around moaning about how “someone should do something”.  

During our exploration of solutions, we realized something important: if we didn’t design the community culture we wanted to have, it would be decided by default. Letting the community environment and culture be determined by default left us at risk of negative forces taking precedence.  

So we decided who we were and what kind of community we wanted to have, and for the next generation to inherit. What was birthed was Penhold SHARES: Penhold is Supportive, Healthy, Accepting, Responsible, Ever-active and Safe. It’s one of the things of which I am most proud to have been a part. The community uses this framework, to this day, to develop programs and responses. You can watch my TedX Red Deer talk on the subject here. 

Setting Culture 

We’re all aware – some of us painfully so – that we don’t want to live or work somewhere that the atmosphere is toxic or dysfunctional. Our typical response to being in that kind of environment is to get out, to leave. But, what if you are the leader in your business or organization, and, despite your best efforts, you find yourself with a poor workplace culture? How do you deal with it, change it, fix it? 

Culture must be intentionally and purposefully designed. 

Please have a listen to the most recent episode of my podcast to learn more about why culture matters and how to design the culture you want. Listen here 

And, as always, stay on point!