Culture – The way we Want To do things around here
It is time to get culture right.
You may have heard “Culture is the way we do things around here”, have you?
This ultimately summarises a definition of what culture is, it is the sum of all parts, isn’t it?
Ok, but isn’t talking about culture as “The way we do things around here” doing a disservice to getting culture right?
Much in the same way if we talk about performance we could say “you’re only as good as your last game” and that would be technically right, but probably do a disservice to everything else building in the background to help performance, right?
Why shouldn’t we talk about performance/culture in such snapshot views?
Stress would be my immediate response. If we over focus on a particular short time period as the only reflection of everything we are trying to build, everything is heightened over this period, right? You can almost feel the exasperation and hysteria as things aren’t exactly where they need to be during this period; all of the stress flying around, can you see that?
Remember I am talking very generically and there are situations where we can manage teams to deliver in these high stress environments, but the norm is that teams don’t thrive in these scenarios, you need specialist coaches/leaders/team members to navigate immense stress situations.
Does this all make sense so far?
So, “The way we do things around here” may not be the best way to reflect on culture as it is casting a light on right now where culture is, right? A lot of the surveys done by specialists do the snapshot view, but is it where we need to be?
Culture, like performance, isn’t something you just happen to get right, it takes immense leadership, focus and support from everyone.
The notion “it is the way we do things around here” almost suggests we will always have culture, measure where we are and that is our culture.
Put that into performance terms would it feel the same? Measure where we are and that is our performance. Does that feel right? It’s not so simple right? Not if you really want to get it right. You look at the engineering/processes/systems in the background, what have we got in place to give us indications where performance is in each layer of process and service we deliver right? We have SOP’s, performance indicators against organisation, teams and individuals, performance is a layered study, and constant, isn’t it?
Culture must be the same, if you want to get it right it requires engineering.
I’d suggest the first part of that engineering comes from the way you define culture – “The way we do things around here” whilst a reasonable summary of what culture is, certainly shouldn’t be a default answer from anyone in any organisation or environment. Not if you want to have an active role in growth. This is a passive statement.
The active answer is “Culture is the way we want to do things around here”, the moment you position it this way, hopefully all sorts of ideas start appearing.
Hopefully one of the next focuses is “how do you want to do things around here?”
That starts getting you aligned to moving your culture into the right space. It has to be engineered and not an “Oh whoops, that’s where our culture is”.
The next steps are thinking of what you want to achieve as a group – the more aspirational, widely bought in and currently unattainable this can be the better. From this you define the short/medium term goals, the behaviours and identity needed to achieve everything. You are on your way to owning culture and not letting it be a beautiful or disastrous accident…
Remember, driving culture is entirely for the strategic thinkers, behaviours are what will dig you out of the trenches when everything fails. Don’t allow it to be a byproduct of performance, make the culture drive your performance.
Does this all make sense? I hope so, do interact with firstname.lastname@example.org or post this on a social platform and reach out to us for comment.
At Tribe365® we understand everything about culture, leadership and behaviours and have the tools to drive the best culture in the largest organisations internationally. Everything we do can be delivered at a distance and we are driven to see “high performing everyone”. Our world is still in a massive transition and those organisations which start riding the wave of faster changing needs and wants of internal teams as well as external stakeholders will thrive, those who don’t will drop off slowly. Tapping into the underlying beating heart of teams is the only way to go for long term success. Do reach out, we are always happy to give free advice and guidance.