Creating Change: a fundamental roadmap

Create communities IG

Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan (WRCNM) has been working on identifying and creating policies to share with businesses and organizations that will help create protective environments in which individuals feel supported, valued, respected and safe. A local group of men is working with WRCNM Violence Prevention Coordinator Megan King to develop these policies and share them with the business community.

More than 10 years of focus group data was used to help guide the group. An informal policy analysis following a recent focus group indicated very few organizations have policies in place to challenge unhealthy social norms.

In November 2020, WRCNM held a virtual town hall where local men engaged in brainstorming ideas for possible policy change strategies to use with local organizations. Ideas from this virtual town hall helped WRCNM focus on providing the work group with a roadmap that applies a framework for promoting anti-violence norms and policies within businesses and organizations, similar to the Van Dam Cultural Fundamentals.

The cultural fundamentals developed at Van Dam Boats in Boyne City outline collective language, values and norms as elements that can help create an environment of trust, mutual respect and continuous learning among team members.

The group determined that using a framework developed and successfully implemented by a well-respected local business would result in greater cultural resonance and increased buy-in among potential partnering businesses.

After the town hall, WRCNM adapted this locally-developed framework into a customizable “Fundamentals Statement” to support organizations in creating trusting and respectful environments. This document was presented to the men’s group at a virtual meeting in March 2021. The meeting grounded group members in the work they will be doing in the community. This included skill-building on how to:

  • use the draft statement to identify problem areas,
  • put the fundamentals into action in businesses, and
  • show businesses that creating a protective work environment through shared values of hard work, good communication and with no tolerance for abusive language and behavior can improve employee morale and retention.

In collaboration with men’s group members, WRCNM also developed a “Sector Specific Implementation Guide” to help others create and implement individualized cultural fundamentals in specific settings, such as businesses and human services. WRCNM plans to use this guide and draft a Fundamentals Statement to support local community-driven organizational policy change. WRCNM utilized the sector-specific strategic guide for faith-based institutions while working with Northern Michigan Interfaith Common Ground to adopt a set of shared values.

To learn more about creating a cultural fundamental framework for your business or organization, contact WRCNM Violence Prevention Coordinator Megan King.

View the 37 cultural fundamentals developed by Van Dam Boats.

View the Northern Michigan Interfaith Common Ground values.