The field of play. Steward leaders design the culture they seek

The other day I was speaking to a friend who was having issues with his young son, aged around 6. His son was challenging boundaries, refusing to see through the eyes of another, wanting only to get his own way.

This is normal child development. Different children will push the boundaries to different levels.

If we do not as parents at this stage of development create super clear boundaries with equally clear consequences that are then followed through to the letter, if we do not get the child to experience the pain of consequence, to teach them to think about the other, then we will get a child to grow into a young adult, grow into a man who believes the world is his play toy and that only what he wants matters. 

A home has boundaries, a threshold that is crossed that says…”in this home this is how we treat each other. This is how we treat the home. This is what we do respectfully, or not.”

The home steward sets these threshold crossings, and in doing creates the field of play that enables all under the home’s roof to engage, learn and become. To grow up or stay the child.

Enterprise architecture is the same. It creates the field of play. It says, ‘if you are part of this enterprise, this community, this team, this is how we show up as individuals and as the community.’ If this is not how you want to show up, that is fine. You can choose to not play on this field, in this enterprise.

A nation is the same. The constitution and laws set the field of play.

Our bodies, the threshold crossing between our physical world and our interior health and wellbeing, has a set of conditions and rules we have chosen. Do we feed ourselves nourishing food, quality media, rich conversations? Or do we pollute ourselves with empty calories, violence, and the anger of social media?

People underestimate the importance of the threshold crossing. The membrane that says that now you have crossed into this world there is a set of agreements and rules that you have, in crossing, agreed to play by.

Too many communities and enterprises fail to consider the enterprise architecture, the threshold crossing as relevant. Yet it is the container that holds the culture. If it is too loose, then people will begin to play however they want. If it is too tight it will constrict all creativity.

Steward leaders will design this threshold crossing with loving consideration, knowing that in the design they will get the culture they seek. 

Photo taken June 19th, 2020