Workplace culture is intriguing, a few seem to have an opinion on it or trying to build it, maintain it or redefine it. Further below is a link to survey for some research we’re doing into Workplace Culture if you’d like to contribute and get the report findings.
It’s a long game, it’s not like you can change your culture in a few months …even years.
Michael Sahota listed the following key points about culture whilst referencing the Schneider Culture Model:
- Management guru Peter Drucker says “Culture … is singularly persistent … In fact, changing behaviour works only if it is based on the existing ‘culture’”
- No one culture type is better than another.
- Depending on the type of work, one type of culture may be a better fit.
- Companies typically have a dominant culture with aspects from other cultures. This is fine as long as those aspects serve the dominant culture.
- Different departments or groups may have different cultures. (e.g. development vs. operations)
- Differences can lead to conflict.
It’s those last three that caught my attention.
Culture comes from a combined set of behaviours, from people ‘in’ the business. Often it’s driven by the founder (not always a CEO) or a change agent, an ambassador for change, who has a strong vision and purpose that everyone else buys into because it fits with some of their own needs and ambitions. That’s what creates the ‘energy’ in a work environment that electrical vibe that people describe they can feel, drive, passion, teamwork, whatever you want to call it, you can feel it. Can you feel it now? Have you felt it this week? Month? Year? If you haven’t then you have a problem, maybe you have or are developing different cultures in different groups and moving to conflict, which by the way slows you down.
We’re now seeing businesses wanting to move faster, have teams that come together and then break away after a relatively short time. We’re going to see more resource coming in to the organisation that’s far more temporary, new technologies, new processes, to serve short and long term purposes. Every company needs to become more adaptive, iterative and emergent, which means mixing skills it doesn’t have or can’t afford to hire full time (yes you can partner but that’s not for everyone), and as Nigel Bogle once said,
‘Big is a collection of smalls’
and that’s a team dynamic. How do we cope when we have mixed cultures and does it matter? Does it lead to conflict? How do we recognise that and the ‘energy’ and more importantly how do we build or maintain it?
Knowing the culture(s) you have and the culture(s) you want to keep (because it drives growth) should be primary, especially during a merger or change programme, it’s your people stupid, the foundation of what you build.
What’s your experience? It still feels like the elephant in the room.
Responsible or interested in Workplace Culture?
I’ve been working with London Research and Rare: Consultancy developing a report looking at the impact of the working environment on staff morale and performance, with a particular focus on the impact of a merger or acquisition on culture.
Those taking part in the survey will get a free copy of the research when it is published in the spring.
Take part in the Survey here. (closes March 9th)
You can read more about culture and business agility in the book.