The discussion about Culture and Culture Change has increased in significance over the past few years, particularly in relation to the impact of Culture on Organisational Performance and it appears that there is a perception that Culture should be directly changed or significantly influenced through Culture change programs.
This triggered me to take some Hansei (deep reflection) time to consider what this really means in terms of driving, or improving, the Performance of a business and, whilst I have my own views on how the performance Culture of an Organisation may be positively improved, I first wanted to discuss what I consider an insidious symptom of the dialogue around Culture, which is for Individuals to blame the Culture on their inability to perform at a high level. I'm sure that if you think about it, you will have heard uttered a sentence similar to these:
"You know what the culture is like here, we just don't do things that quickly / don't work that way / they just never do what they should / etc."
We seem to have created a sort of 'Culture Culture', whereby we assume that we are powerless to oppose the Culture of the Organisation that we work in and must slavishly behave as it commands.
Therefore, if I, as a team member, accept the Culture as it is and choose to behave as it influences me to do, then I am part of the sustainment of that Culture and, if I simply sit, passively, waiting for a Culture change program to be launched, or for senior Management to change the Culture, then I am simultaneously the victim and the perpetrator of this 'crime against high performance'.
...if I simply sit, passively, waiting for a Culture change program to be launched, or for senior Management to change the Culture, then I am simultaneously the victim and the perpetrator of this 'crime against high performance'.
It appears to me that if, instead, we take individual accountability to do the right thing, even when we feel that the Culture is against us, we can start to move the needle and, as our colleagues see the change, they will be influenced to also make their personal contribution to the change in behaviour.
I am currently reading a book entitled 'Verdraaide Organisaties' (Twisted Organisations) in which the Author, Wouter Hart, has used a similar model to that of Simon Sinek's 'Why?, How?, What?' model.
"I realise that it takes extra energy to do this but, the reward and sense of liberation can be astounding and together, through our individual action, we can be the Culture that we want."
There are many Lean Leadership Books out there but I have reviewed those that I think are of most use on my Book Recommendations page.
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