Have you ever observed an ant colony? From afar, every ant seems to be moving in the same orderly direction. Upon closer inspection, it becomes obvious that each ant is busily executing the actions necessary to accomplish its own agenda—yet at the same time, each ant’s actions serve to meet the needs and requirements of the colony.

This is what culture looks like: a group of individuals acting as one.

Culture is individual, yet collective; personal, yet united by purpose and passion. It is created and consistently cultivated.

Eleven years ago, at the height of the Asian financial crisis, a handful of individuals decided to come together and make a collective difference by being the change that they wanted to see in the world. The six of us had been working together for only a few months, yet we were already pulled together by a dream: to do the “impossible” and empower countless others to do the same.

We found ourselves gravitating toward a powerful set of values: truth within self, others above self, service beyond self. A tall order, so we did the crazy, right thing: we built our network marketing business by forging a partnership and build as one.

What a radical change in our behaviors this required! We learned to adapt, accommodate and adjust to each other, to our circumstances and to the people around us. We learned how to celebrate the uniqueness of each individual while consciously creating unity. We learned to confront in love. We learned to pursue success within the safety net of the team.

Being mostly Asian, our team aspired to harness the best of Asian culture in all its diversity. Creating our culture was a result of identifying shared values and changing our behaviors to match those values. Rather than being imposed, these values became embedded in us and subsequently in our network.

Today our networkers all over the world have embraced our culture and made it their own. Service is one such hallmark of our culture: at our conventions, our top achievers would rather open doors for the participants than have the doors opened for them. They would rather be part of the InService team that tirelessly works twenty-hour days to ensure our events exceed everyone’s expectations than sit in the VIP area. Our leaders take more pride in wearing the InService uniform than a designer suit! They are the embodiment of our InService culture and inspire upcoming leaders, who trip over themselves for the opportunity to serve.

This is just one example of how shared values grow into a strong culture. By truly adopting and embracing the values of the culture as his or her own, every team member naturally contributes to the strengthening and propagation of the culture. This process of reciprocity is what creates a winning culture that changes lives and builds strong, lasting relationships.

DONNA IMSON is executive chairperson of an international network
marketing company based in the Pacific Rim. She is an accomplished
network marketer, much sought after speaker and a role model
for entrepreneurial aspirants, especially women. She is infinitely grateful
to the profession for bringing dignity and fulfillment to single mothers like her.