When it comes to modern organizational life, photography is a simple way to create a culture of innovation. Pictures of those small, daily workplace moments at your office, that stuff matters. It’s more than another strategy for increasing followers on social media, growing your employer brand, optimizing search engine optimization, expanding industry exposure and recruiting and retaining top talent at your startup. Business school jargon aside, photography is about witnessing each other. Making people feel seen. Creating artifacts that signal the collective spirit of the culture and symbolize why the environment is worth celebrating and joining.
ARTIFACTING — Capturing, organizing, merchandising and sharing moments that signal the collective spirit of your culture
Is your startup sensitive to people's visibility needs? Are you giving your team the priceless gift of memory? If not, here’s how you might be able to create more witnessing, within your organization. First, create a moment. Go out of your way and bother to bother doing something that requires attention and intention. Even if it doesn’t require labor and time and money. Next, create an artifact. Use your powers of documentation to capture, organize and render those moments in formats that are easy to share. And finally, package, publish and amplify those moments back out into the world, in whatever medium seems appropriate. If your company is not used to making this a regular practice, doing so might feel tedious, time consuming, and unrelated to profitability or cost. Which is totally understandable. Just know this. If people on your team feel like they’re winking in the dark, they might seek the light elsewhere.
My mentor, a retired professional baseball player turned preacher and educator, once told me that most of what people do in this world no witness. We're all just winking in the dark, hoping somebody will make us feel seen. Memory, then, is the highest form of respect. It's a gift that we give each other. To remember is to bear witness, to bear witness is to notice, and to notice is to love.
Interestingly enough, many cultures in history have held the notion that taking a photograph of a person steals their soul. Some believe a photo is blasphemous graven image, shows disrespect for the spiritual world, commits the sin of pride, imprisons the spirit and sucks the life force out of their body. There’s even the famous news story about holy man who tried to sue a photographer for millions of dollars for snapping his photo without consent. Hopefully that's not the case at your company. How many pictures have you taken of your team this week?
Build shared memories that bond people
Make people feel seen as talented, essential team members
Actively drive culture, rather than merely responding to it
Build a more satisfied and intrinsically oriented work force
Inspire future creative efforts through the celebration of past one
Create rituals of communication that set a new standard for everyone around you