Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast by Peter Drucker, a well-respected management guru, is one of my favorite quotes. Although thought provoking, it generally is not heeded in a global marketplace filled with constant change. Face it. Fortifying your organizational culture today in readiness for tomorrow’s future workforce is essential to be competitive and thrive.
To be on the same page literally, let’s keep it simple. Philosopher Edward S. Casey (1996) stated that the very word culture meant “place tilled” in Middle English”, In addition the word goes back to the Latin colere, “to inhabit, care for”.
Considering that engagement around the world is at its lowest, it makes sense that organizational culture needs to be cultivated, fed and nourished by all. Not only by leaders. It takes everyone, holding hands, and having each other’s backs for all to be successful.
Each culture is made up of unwritten rules and specific values – the glue to decision-making. But these rules and values are invisible. Just as Sammy the goldfish swims happily in his fish bowl until one day something happens. Little Tommy spills out the water in his effort to get a little closer… and suddenly Sammy learns his invisible environment (or culture) has disappeared as he gasps for breath.
So what’s the connection between Culture, Strategy and Fish?
Well, you get the fish story. As parents, ensuring the safety of our pets’ environment is a basic value; similarly, firm leaders ensuring a culture where each employee truly feels safe, taken care of and enabled to be the best of his or her ability is a basic value. But is it?
- When insurance rates skyrocket from ill, injured or absent employees, what does that tell us?
- When employee conflict and turnover are persistent and painful issues, what does that tell us?
- When organizational strategy and employees’ goals and dreams are out of sync, the culture is similar to swimming in dirty water.
- What is the water that you swim in?
Clear and sparking with healthy win- win relationships between leaders and employees that achieve both individual and organizational goals and dreams…
Or is it muddy with the heavy tension of making bottom line metrics for shareholders … negating each person’s uniqueness and chosen career path? All in the name of what’s best for The Company.
I believe each of us regardless of the level we work at want to feel our own definition of satisfaction success –not the other way around. And both my career path and business case is equally important to the organization’s.
Can you easily and accurately articulate your organizational culture?
I stress easily because it should be on the tip of your tongue and accurately because from whose perspective- management or employees? Unless you have both, it is not really reflective of the truth,
Take a minute and answer the question. But before you do, consider this. Don’t just state a few words such as we have an open door policy but rather identify the uniform behaviors that are both verbal and non verbal that make up ‘the invisible or ‘typicals’ at your place of work.
Ask yourself do they include demonstrations of inclusion, acceptance, and encouragement …or not?
As well, think about the demographics in leadership roles and entry positions- from generational and gender to disabilities and different sexual preferences.
Is a wholesome approach to diversity infused into your culture? A just like me approach creates many mini-mes’ and sadly, enthusiastic innovation is minimized. ( I apologize in advance for taking the m alliteration to the 5th .)
The outcome of the exercise is to start noting the following:
- What values are embedded in your culture? Are they the right ones to ensure a ‘future that adapts to the future’?
- Do those values strengthen the capabilities of your workforce? After all it’s the workforce who’s going to make the strategy happen.
- Does your culture make it easy to support an individual’s success or is it burdened down with hierarchy and bureaucracy?
- And finally does the culture actually enable people to accomplish their goals while helping the company achieve its?
If you answer NO to any of these questions, than contemplate this.
The Future is now. I understand that phrase is not a new concept but becoming Future Strong is and that is a choice only you can make today- for you and your organization.
Start Future Proofing yourself for tomorrow. There is no time to waste. Want to know more? Or even participate in our beta testing assessment? Love to hear from you by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.