What Cultural Currency Does Your Work Employ?


Historians believe that the Chinese were the first to utilize paper bills as an accepted currency, as early as A.D. 618. Today, every country uses a specific currency to make transactions easier than carting around your chickens or cabbages to trade in the open market.

We have grown accustomed to the ease of use that money provides, and also know intuitively what $10 or $100 will garner in a restaurant or shop.

Well, your company uses a currency too that’s cultural in nature and affects transactions of all types. Rather than purchasing items at your company store, however, cultural currency is the mode of power used by those who trade well. If you are fortunate to work for a company with a healthy culture, that currency could exist in the form of opportunity, impact, teamwork, contribution, leadership or caring. The possibilities are numerous, and all positive.

If, however, you work in a political or divisive culture, imagine the prevailing currencies used to gain an advantage. Have you experienced politics, gossip, manipulation or “side deals” before? Like positive currencies, toxic currencies hold no bounds either.

The Real Trick With Any Currency In Use

You may realize that just the mention of the concept triggers an immediate recognition of the prevailing currency in use where you work. Is it a currency you utilize and support to your advantage? Do you need special expertise in the use of the currency just to survive? Most importantly, does the prevailing currency coincide well with your highest personal values?

This last question exists as the key to you enjoying your team, your role and your daily work.

Consider that you are part of a successful drug cartel. The product is illegal and in high demand, detrimental to those who take it, and highly profitable — so much so that many people work in this field at the high risk of violence or imprisonment.