Often times during an interview, a new role can be presented one way, and then when we arrive, there’s another reality. And more often than not, it’s a reflection of the values presented during the interview, which we later come to discover are different after we arrive. I’ve always wondered why the values we expect rarely match the reality of the workplace. I frequently hear friends and colleagues across diverse industries and sectors sharing their disappointment in their organization’s work culture, settling to stay where they are until they reach their last straw, and then moving on. The tech industry moved the needle in creating a novel culture of care to drive capitalism, providing resources from food and daycare to bringing pets to work. The idea focused on keeping their employees in the office, engaged, with little need to go home. I often wondered if that model was sustainable. Eventually, we want to feel the comfort of our home and the boundaries between home and work.

My wonderment continues around workplace culture, particularly in this stage of my life journey at The Patterson Foundation (TPF). Shortly after my arrival to TPF 3 ½ weeks ago, I took a deep dive into my new workplace, adjusting to new rhythms, surrounded by new people. So far, everything feels fantastic, and my colleagues are nurturing and supportive. I’m aware that this may be a “work-honeymoon,” and it could come to a crashing halt once expectations are established and pressure mounts. Yet, this feels quite different from anything I’ve ever experienced, and I am discovering why…

Work culture is very important to TPF, and it stems from a values-driven approach to the work. Here are some of the values I quickly learned upon my arrival:
  • It is essential to build connective tissue everywhere possible—and with every human. Each of us has a wandering path, unique and always worthy of sharing. By sharing our experiences, we build relationships with strangers, and our world becomes a little bit smaller and more familiar.

No matter the circumstances, each of us enters each day focused on five constants that power our ability to thrive in the face of change while harnessing that change to work in new, impactful ways. This is achieved through five key actions: Caring → Connecting → Collaborating → Contributing → Creating

Through these actions, I’ve felt the warmth, sincere engagement, and authenticity of my colleagues. We have created a work environment where it is ok to share on a personal level. We approach difference from a place of curiosity and ask questions to understand each other better, continuing our pursuit to build and strengthen our connective tissue.

Unity in the community. It’s important to find ways for us to engage and create our desired future—together.

  • Moving from scarcity to abundance—expanding a narrow scope of thinking to a broad view of the collective resources from multiple sectors.
  • From issues to aspirations—shifting the focus from problems, challenges, and barriers to a shared vision and new possibilities.
  • From enabling to engaging—rather than taking actions that perpetuate problems, creating opportunities that change realities.
  • From silos to systems—rather than acting in isolation, exploring, discovering, and working together in a shared ecosystem.
  • From outputs to outcomes—rather than focusing on short-term actions, optimizing efforts toward long-term impact.
The values mentioned above are only an appetizer to an entrée of values that my colleagues embody. They are contagiously embraced by the growing community of TPF partners from Southwest Florida and beyond. There’s a work culture at TPF which is unlike any other work culture I’ve experienced. I’ve come from seven years of different work cultures that operated in specific ways. And now I feel I landed on a new planet that has pushed boundaries that I never knew could be pushed to create a values-driven work culture behind which everyone can feel connected, supported, and thrive.

Yes, this is all still so fresh and new. Things could change in a couple months—who knows. But I can say with certainty that this work-honeymoon feels kinda nice—and I’m hoping it continues!

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