Until everyone feels welcomed, connected, and engaged…

Until everyone feels welcomed, connected, and engaged...

Building Culture of Connection within a team/organization/community means that everyone within that community feels welcomed, connected, and engaged. The benefits of this type of culture are overwhelmingly positive:

– Neighborhood crime goes down
– Employee retention/productivity goes up
– Individuals experience better physical health

The research goes on and on about the value of creating a Culture of Connection. As you can imagine, the absence of such a culture has equally negative outcomes.

Our work with creating a Culture of Connection is usually within teams and organizations, but given what’s happening with the protests around the United States related to police brutality and specifically within the black community, it’s hard to stay silent while a large percentage of our community, fellow Americans, don’t feel welcomed, connected, and engaged.

As a white male, I’ve never gone for a run outside and thought I would mistakenly be accused of being a burglar and ultimately be shot and killed by fellow civilians.

As a white male, I’ve never thought about the possibility that law enforcement would break into my home unannounced for a crime I didn’t do, and yet I would still get shot and die.

As a white male, I’ve never been pulled over by police and considered that my life would be in danger…even if I challenged their authority.

There are many positive stories of police officers using their position for good by handing out water to the homeless, kneeling with the protesters, and working towards reform within their own departments. While those stories are great and should be celebrated, it shouldn’t take multiple wrongful deaths, abuses, or arrests to know that something needs to change. The system isn’t working for everyone, and everyone should want a system that works for everyone.

This shouldn’t be a political issue with two sides debating, because everyone should want every American citizen to be treated fairly and feel safe anywhere within the United States, regardless of race. Every mother should feel pain when they hear a child call out for their mother while taking their last breath by the knee of another person.

The responsibility to change the system shouldn’t be a burden on those who are affected the most, but rather something shared by everyone. Just because it doesn’t happen to me, doesn’t me I shouldn’t care. It’s a privilege to be able to sit out of “the fight” because I’m not affected first hand. Yet so many around me are. We should all want change for a more just, peaceful, and fair society. We are better together.

I look forward to the day we can truly say that all lives matter, but that’s not possible until Black Lives Matter. Saying all lives matter without doing something to make change for those lives most impacted by a faulty system is a lie we are telling ourselves to hide behind our privilege – to not want to engage in discomfort while we continue to gain from a system that supports us while hurting others.

I’m not going to pretend I know the answers on how to reform the system because it’s an area I know almost nothing about. But based on our work, I do know how to recognize when a system is broken and a culture is poisoned. We also know how to facilitate conversations and shared experiences between people to create a stronger sense of trust, appreciation, and connection.

I’m going to let the experts figure out how to reform the larger system, and in the meantime, I’m going to do our part within Swift Kick to create change in our tiny piece of the world. As I said prior, our Culture of Connection work up until this point has been solely within teams/organizations. Moving forward, I’m going to work on ways we can expand into municipalities so one day, everyone feels welcomed, connected, and engaged.

With love and hugs,

Tom Krieglstein
CEO, Swift Kick

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