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"Behavior of people, any and all behavior, in organizations is determined not by 'carrot and stick' but by the surrounding culture”












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Culture Transformation and Management

 

There is an old saying that, 'If you don't manage your culture you'll get the one you deserve' (Which is rarely the one you desire, nor the one you believe you actually have)

And given the near universal acceptance of this saying in the organizational context, it is astonishing to find that the management of culture in organizations is actually quite ineffective and there is a strong disconnect among management in understanding the implications of an adverse culture.

 

Let us step back for a minute.

 

Management usually wants to install certain behavior among their people, i.e. make decisions, take responsibility, work pro-actively. This is commonly regulated through policies, training, feedback and financial incentives. Unfortunately, but predictably, the results are nowhere near the anticipated level, nor do they prove sustainable.

 

Organizations are systems (Old hat)

But if that is true, then the laws of system dynamics are valid and applicable.

What determines behavior in systems? - Correct, structure.

What is the outward representation of structure in social systems, e.g. organizations? - Correct again, culture.

 

There is the widely held belief that 'one bad apple' can bring a 'good' company to its knees. This is an urban myth and a bogus one at that. Learning from above, it was the culture in that 'good' company that allowed that 'bad apple' to occur that was responsible for the downfall.

 

So, if management wants their people to behave in certain ways, no number of policies, no amount of 'carrot and stick' will achieve that behavior. The only way to safeguard that people behave in certain ways is to create a culture where it is socially unacceptable to behave in any other way.

Now, what determines culture in an organization, or system? - a) Direction, b) Hallmarks, c) Supporting, Implicit Values.

Direction. Without a direction the organization doesn't go anywhere, there is no glue that holds it together other than threat and punishment. An organization with a will to succeed sustainably requires a vision and a shared one at that. One that inspires and is believed by the members of this organization.

Hallmarks. The structure, or culture, of an organization needs, if it wants to succeed sustainably, certain pillars or hallmarks that give authenticity to the system, demonstrating that the organization is genuine.

Values. The organization is then held together by a body of (hallmark)-supportive, shared values. These are not rules. These are values shared by all people of this organization.

 

Now, the pitfalls and dangers in a culture transformation are legendary.

Starting with disconnected, generic vision statements over common-parlance hallmarks to values written on little laminated cards and published on websites.

Successful culture transformation and the subsequent management takes strong political will, commitment, patience, and know-how.


√ Get us to work with you and provide the trusted advice that establishes a vision tailored to a particular organization.
√ Let us provide the trusted advice to aid the formulation of hallmarks, and supportive values that are shared by all people in the organization.
√ Talk to us about working as trusted advisors to enable the transformation to a culture that safeguards the sustainable success of the organization in a high performance setting.

The ball is in your corner. Play. 

Strategize.

(What have you got to lose? Only your shackles)

 


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