What is organisation culture? What are the dimensions to culture?

Organisation culture is quite hard to define.

Many seem to agree that organisation culture refers to the organisations’ values, beliefs, habits and how it interacts with different peoples or stakeholders.

Those are certainly some of the dimensions of organisation culture. But are there any others? What about how the culture is incentivised, i.e. its motivations? What about its speed of action, its urgency? Any others?

Would it be fair to explore organisation culture in the following dimensions (and are they the right dimensions)?

  • values
  • beliefs
  • habits, customs and norms
  • interactions with others
    • customers
    • employees
    • owners
    • competitors
    • partners
    • government
    • regulators
    • technology
  • motivations and incentives
  • speed of action
  • dealing with problems
  • fears
  • interests

I would like to discuss and explore these further. Only once we understand what is organisation culture, only then can we determine how we understand what creates this culture, so we can work with it, or even “re-boot” it.

So feel free to comment below, or even tweet me.

The environment shapes culture. Change the environment, culture will follow.

Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

You can have a great strategy, but if the culture is not right then the strategy will fail. What is culture? In simple terms, my view of culture relates to how people act and behave, their habits and norms, their priorities and focuses. 

But changing or reshaping culture is not an easy thing. You cannot change how people conduct themselves. You can’t effectively force people who love to spend to suddenly save. You can tell them to do so, remind and cajole them even. But they will not willingly or naturally do so.

However, if you create a hypothetical situation where prices increases sharply, then people will start to save. This can be clearly seen with regards to natural resources such as water. If water is cheap, people will use it with very little thought and often waste it. When water is precious and expensive then people will start to save it. 

The same applies in management. If you want a culture of obedience, you create detailed rules and processes (bureaucracy!), you emphasise punishment and fear. If you want a culture of innovation, you allow more freedom especially for people to think different and try new things. You create the space and encourage minds to open.

Don’t spend time trying to get people to behave differently. Work on the systems and processes, not the people. 

Don’t bother trying to change people behaviours. Just change your management processes. Identify what kind of culture you want. What behaviours you would like to see. Be very clear on this. Then identify what are the current systems and processes that inhibit these behaviours and those the encourage these behaviours. Start changing those systems and processes. 

Work on the systems. The culture will follow.

If you want innovation, you have to encourage independent thought

We live in an age where technology, customer expectations, and markets shift rapidly. Sticking with dogma and age old ideas, methods, products and services will no longer cut it.

Assuming that we believe in the above – and I would not be too far off the mark, I’d guess – then we need to be able to adapt, respond, anticipate these shifts before and as they happen. We need to be agile, and most of all we need to be innovative. We need to find even more effective solutions to old and new problems. What worked in the past will not guarantee to work in the future.

Innovation is the key to winning in the fast changing world.

But innovation is not just an activity. It is more than that. It is a mindset, a culture, a function that everyone plays – and not just some people in labs and research centres.

Like creativity, you cannot force innovation. Like creativity, innovation must be allowed to flow, naturally. The biggest enabler for innovation is allowing individuals the freedom to have independent thought.

The seed of a new idea would only come from a ground that is fertile with many different thinking. In groups of people, society and organisations – allowing people to think different allows them to explore new ideas, test new perspectives, find new solutions in ways never been thought of before. A social group that emphasises conformity over individuality will psychologically limit the collective minds. This is often the subtle tyranny of the majority.

A society or organisation that is conscious of these subtle effects will need to take steps to allow individuality and take these steps even further by bringing in people who would be expected to see things differently – given they come from different backgrounds and thus would naturally see things differently. Artists will see different solutions to problems than would engineers or accountants. People from different industries will see different ways to solve problems. This is vital in order to encourage innovation. Societies and organisations will need to infuse their own culture and groups of people with people from other backgrounds in order to create a much richer diversity of thought.

Resignation as an adult

 

found this on the ‘Net. looks silly, but it has a deep meaning. i like it….
Subject: Resignation

To whom it may concern:

I am hereby officially tendering my resignation as an adult.

  • I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of a 5 year old again.
  • I want to go to McDonald’s and think that it’s a four star restaurant.
  • I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make ripples in a pond with rocks.
  • I want to think M&Ms are better than money because you can eat them.
  • I want to lie under a big oak tree and watch the ants march up its trunk.
  • I want to run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summer’s day.
  • I want to think a quarter is worth more than a dollar bill cause it’s prettier and weighs more.
  • I want to go fishing and care more about catching the minnows along the shore than the big bass in the lake.
  • I want to return to a time when life was simple. When all you knew were colors, multiplication tables, and nursery rhymes. When I didn’t know what I know now. When all I knew was to be happy because I was blissfully unaware of all the things that should make me worried.
  • I want to think the world is fair.
  • I want to think that everyone is honest and good. I want to believe that anything is possible.
  • I want to be oblivious to the complexities of life and be overly excited by the little things again.
  • I don’t want my day to consist of computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, how to survive more days in the month than there is money in the bank, doctor bills, gossip, illness, and the loss of loved ones.
  • I want to believe in the power of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, dreams, the imagination, Santa, the Tooth Fairy, a kiss that makes a boo-boo go away, making angels in the snow and that my dad and Superman are the strongest people in the world.

So……here’s my checkbook and my car-keys, my credit cards and the bills too, my 401K statements, my stocks & bonds, my collections, my insurance premiums, my job, my house and the payments too, my e-mail address pager,cell phone, computer, and watch. I am officially resigning from adulthood. And if you want to discuss this with me further, you’ll have to catch me first, cause,

“Tag!”…
“You’re it!”