Are we turning into a Culture that values task accomplishment, more than relationship building?

Before we start, let us look at the definition of “Culture”. Culture is the characteristic features i.e. values, practices and goals shared by people living in a place or community. It helps in developing the intellectual and moral faculties of that group.

Today, across the globe culture seems to be more individualistic, competitive and optimistic. We all believe that the basic unit of our community i.e., the individual, needs his/her rights must be protected. In the process of understanding the individualism, we have increasingly admired individual accomplishments. As individuals, we seem to thrive on competition. We like to be optimistic in the short term and dislike long-range planning. We don’t fix things to improve. We prefer to run things until they break. By the same token, we are impatient too! All these traits lead me to believe that we made task accomplishment the focus of everything. Because of this, and mostly unconsciously, we are losing trust in groups/teams. We believe committees and meetings are a waste of time. We increasingly believe that group decisions diffuse accountability. We tout team effort / team building. We increasingly admire individual competitiveness, outdoing each other conversationally. We seem to always pay much more attention to making heroes out of individuals than what he/she deserves.

Let’s look at some examples of task accomplishment in a school situation

  1. Teachers wanting to finish the given portion in the subject
  2. Parents wanting to know how many marks were scored in the assessment and if their child stood first / better than the rest of the class.
  3. Students wanting to attend school in the morning and go through the routine

… and many more. These are just tasks or routines which do not necessarily yield the desired outcomes.

“The world is becoming more complex, independent and culturally diverse, which makes relationships more and more necessary to get things accomplished”. Good relationships are a key to accomplishing higher-level tasks and long range goals. I see this world as an interconnected community with many complex interdependencies.  As an example, a relay race cannot be won with four of the fastest runners. They should know how to pass and not to drop the baton.

How then, do we accomplish goals for the long-range? It can happen only if we work together. Working together as a team needs – relationship building and building trust. Culturally it is more important for the person of higher status to start and build and strengthening relationships. As an example, in schools the Principal must put in the effort to build trust. In a classroom teachers should do it with the children. Parents have to work with children and teachers – to build trust. People with a subordinate status may withhold information or ideas, refrain from talking and may not feel psychologically safe to speak up. They need help in these situations to be a team member of the team, to hold the baton and pass it when needed.

Let’s remember that it is primarily an attitude. There is no formula about how to do it. We can create our culture and call it our formula!!



2 Responses to “Are we turning into a Culture that values task accomplishment, more than relationship building?”

  1. Janet Dias says:

    Great blog like always Sir. Let’s create our formula, the Tatva Formula.

  2. I think the great problem of cultural development is that it understood as a subject at school and that’s all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *