June 6, 2011 Chris Fuller

Organizational Culture – Part 1

Every Organization has a ‘Culture’ and as I’ve discussed in previous blogs – that culture is either by design or it is by default. In any case, the Culture exists.

What is the present ‘Culture’ of your organization?

I define ‘Culture’ as a being made up of three components:

Beliefs
Behaviors
Common Language

It is a rarity, nowadays, that I would get to help create a company culture from scratch – before any employees are hired – before any defacto culture exists. Most of the time, our starting point is two fold from the outset. 1.) Present Culture 2.) Desired Culture.

There are many reasons for Present Cultures: adaptability of the people to work problems, differing perspectives between team performers and team leaders, communication competencies (or lack thereof), aligned (or mal-aligned) incentive/compensation programs, layoffs, cutbacks, growth – and, probably, a hundred more… The Reason(s) are an important piece – as the Root Cause – of any issue is DEEPLY important to change.

So if you took a few minutes today – and simply walked the halls of your office or sat in the break room of the manufacturing plant – What would you hear? What would you see?

Like it or not – this is your present Organizational Culture.

Are your people tired? Does their behavior align to the Company values? What are their individual and collective beliefs? And what does their communication look like?

It is a great exercise to sit, watch, listen, and record the beliefs, behaviors, and conversational language that occurs in your company. It can be VERY eye opening.

You say, “How do I know what my people believe?”

Easy… Watch their actions, listen to their communication.

Belief Drives Behavior.

I could say that phrase a thousand times over – People will reveal what they believe by their actions and by their speech. Their actions are, usually, a truer representation of their beliefs.

Over the next few days (with as much objectivity as possible) just listen, just watch, just record.

Is the Culture Proactive? Or Reactive? Owners? Passengers? Victims? Engaged? Disengaged? Empowered?
The work comes into play once the present ‘Culture’ is discovered – and we’ll discuss that in the next blog!

In the meantime – checkout one of the previous blogs on Culture – Have a great day!

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