You Belong and We Care

Drawing by Ann Van Eron

Searching for the “right fit” college for my daughter was a long and challenging process. She wanted an academically strong institution that had a collaborative culture.  We visited many colleges to find one that matched her ideal. Each place we went she carefully paid attention to how people interacted and the messages conveyed.

When we dropped her off recently, we were not disappointed. We heard students, faculty and administration provide a consistent and authentic message. They said things like, “Don’t doubt that you belong here. We selected you and we want you to succeed.” “You have a place here.” “We care about you and your family.” “We believe in working together.”  “You are a part of our community now.” 

When I shared with a few long-time staff members that my daughter selected the school because of the culture, they were genuinely interested in what she saw. This was just the way they were and they did not know what made them different. They genuinely cared about students and wanted to ensure they experienced belonging to the community. 

Anytime I mention my daughter’s choice people tell me how happy they, a friend or a relative is who went there. “They loved the school.”  Prospective partners and customers pay attention to culture.

How consistent is your organization’s culture?  Do you tell people who join that they now belong and that you care and will provide resources reflecting your care? 

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