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Posts Tagged ‘culture’

Drinking the Kool-Aid

On my leadership blog, thebackrowleader.com, I posted a while ago my thoughts about absorbing and understanding the corporate culture when you go to a new organization, new department or new job. Let me give you a couple of ways I’ve tried to do that in Calgary, in pictorial form.

There’s a strong movement at the Wycliffe Canada office to ride to work any day you can. It’s part of the western Canada enthusiasm for outdoor activities, but it’s also the characteristics of a select group of staff, a number of which serve on the Leadership Team. So, they’ve got me riding. In the 10 weeks I’ve been in Calgary, I have ridden my bike more than the last year in Orlando.

Of course, the definition of “cycling weather” is different for everyone. A couple of devoted enthusiasts ride to work year-round. For me, I’ve established my limit at 25F. When I start losing feeling in my toes and fingers, it’s not fun anymore. Until I get better clothes, I’m a fair-weather cyclist. The other factor is how much snow is left on the trails, of course.

I also mentioned the Wycliffe Table Hockey League. This is not bush league; it’s serious stuff. Each of the teams has a team logo and hockey card. There’s a commemorative program, full statistics and an annual awards banquet. As you’ll see in this shot, it’s not a simple endeavour. In addition to the referee, each game requires two people counting shots on goal, a timekeeper and someone to play the hockey music between periods.

So far, I’m a spectator and fan. I just can’t find a way to operate six sticks with two hands. They’re already working on me to be the whipping boy next season. If I can increase the morale of the staff by surrendering my pride, perhaps it’s worth it.

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While most of the world seems to fear immigration, Canada takes pride in its multiculturalism. My week in Toronto, reacquainting myself with my hometown, has been eye opening. This city is absolutely incredible in terms of its religious and ethnic diversity. That leads to both incredible richness but also significant challenges. For example, eastern Canada excels at word-free communication in its signage.No littering It simply has to.

Of course, if you ask anyone in Toronto “who is the most multicultural?” you’re not going to get an unbiased opinion. So I asked it on Google. Apparently, it’s a complex question, because everyone has a different criteria. Here are the top answers in terms of countries.

1. One site says the United States, because the U.S. has a total foreign born population of 12%. I don’t think that one’s going to stack up well with other entries.

See source

2. Canada, because the Canadian immigration rate is the highest per capita in the world. The multiculturalism act of 1991 made it law to encourage immigration and prohibit assimilation of the people.

See source

3. Luxembourg

4. Singapore

5. Australia

6. South Africa
You get the point. They’re all multicultural. You get even greater disparity when you look up cities. So here’s another take on it. If you look up on Wikipedia the definition of factoid — something most CEOs are well-acquainted with — you’ll see the following definition:
A factoid is a questionable or spurious—unverified, incorrect, or fabricated—statement presented as a fact, but with no veracity. The word can also be used to describe a particularly insignificant or novel fact, in the absence of much relevant context.[1]
To illustrate the point, Wikipedia offers the following example:
The media in Canada have often reported that Toronto was named by UNESCO as the most multicultural city in the world. Although there have been some reports suggesting that Toronto may be one of the world’s most diverse cities (see Demographics of Toronto), the United Nations agency has never designated any city as being the most multicultural or diverse.[7] Nonetheless, the belief in this status persisted for years, even finding its way onto UNESCO’s own web site,[8] into the pages of the New York Times[9] and The Economist,[10] and into international media reports in respect of Toronto’s two Olympic bids.
Sure enough, I found a UN paper that cites UNESCO as saying that Toronto is the most multicultural city in the world. So there you go. If the UN says it, it must be true.

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