We’ve had a discussion in our family this year about Christmas trees and whether we should have one at all, since large-scale tree felling damages the environment.

We are not convinced all felled trees will be replanted. But it will be so bare without a Christmas tree, and we Swedes can’t entertain the thought of the artificial variety.

Our son has found an eco-friendly solution – he’s renting a Christmas tree with roots, which he will look after and return in the New Year. Apparently they will even deliver the same one back to him next year, assuming it is green and healthy. I’m wondering how he’ll tell if it’s really his tree, will it answer him by name?

In any case, this is all very topical, not just because it’s Christmas, but because we’ve been talking trees with a client recently on the subject of corporate culture.

You may have seen culture described as an iceberg. We like to show the tree, since culture is a living, growing thing. What is above the ground, the trunk, branches and foliage reflect the quality of the root system, which thrives from the environment in which it is placed. It’s obvious from the foliage when a tree is flourishing, supported by strong roots and fertile soil below the ground.

A healthy organisational culture seen from outside (above the ground) is notable by experiencing the positive behaviours and actions of those who work there. People are driven by their beliefs and values, by the cultural norms (below the ground). A strong set of shared values are the solid roots that anchor an organisation even when storms are raging all around.

Organisational culture, just like the tree, needs nurturing.

By tending to living things, whether trees or cultures, we help them grow and thrive, now and in long term. 

For the coming holiday season, and beyond we wish you time and space for reconnection to your roots!

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