Culture Change: What does your organization reward?

September 29, 2010 -- Sal Silvester

Do you work in an environment where:

  • People are constantly running around focused on pressing matters instead of being able to think about the big picture.
  • There is never time to do anything except put out the latest and loudest fire.
  • The organization expects to move quickly but it crushes critical thinking and debate.
  • It is the norm to work 60+ hours per week.

How about an environment where:

  • Learning is not only encouraged but required.
  • "Google-time" is emphasized so that employees have time to generate new ideas.
  • Debate is encouraged, and, as a result, it garners commitment.
  • People are knocking your doors down to work where you work.

Two very different sets of characteristics. Two very different organizational cultures.

Culture can help you drive business results. But, it must be aligned with your organizational strategy. If you want people to be nimble and respond quickly, you can't, at the same time, thwart debate. If you want leaders to actively engage and coach their team members, you can't, at the same time, criticize them for taking the time to do so.

Do you know what your organization's culture rewards and criticizes? Do you understand what the culture stands for and what it expects? How does the culture impact employee behavior and team building?

Organizations that don't truly understand their culture and aren't clear about their culture will never perform at their greatest potential.

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