Continuing my explorations on culture......
Its obvious that the first step in creating the culture we need in an organisation is to articulate it. How often do we consciously do this with clarity and rigour? Even if we manage to articulate the culture we need, it could sometimes end up being quite generic and not very distinguishing. Which right thinking organisation wouldn't want a performance-oriented, agile, innovative, customer-centric, collaborative culture!
So what comes in the way of organisations defining exactly what they need? I guess the first filter is what we define as culture. Different companies may use different terminologies (see Gerry's comments on my earlier post), but what we want has to be closely linked to our business strategy, and should be the key to our recipe for success. We should try to define it in very specific terms, and make it unique for the organisation. Only one, or sometimes 2 elements of culture would be distinguishable in any organisation- we cant be distinctive on many counts. If an organisation chooses to be distinctive on more than a couple, more often than not, it ends up being a mish-mash of everything.
However, the one critical challenge in articulating the culture needed in an organisation is the ability to live with paradoxes. Rather, balance the opposites. 'Where there is light, there is always a shadow.' I guess it is this ability of some organisations to understand this and make the right choices.
But there is one debate on culture that I am still struggling with. How much is the culture of a company dependent on its maturity and market context. While a start-up may need elements of speed etc., as the company grows and is well established, it would probably look to develop other elements, like a collaborative culture. However, the counter logic to this is that culture of a company is timeless - irrespective of the maturity or growth of the company, it needs to have its unique DNA. I guess both arguments hold water. What are your thoughts?
Any examples of how organisations have defined culture which has made it easy for them to focus and create it? Would be really interesting to hear from you..... look forward.