Your Culture: Get Out of the Passenger’s Seat and Drive! - deepSEE Blog

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” a quote frequently attributed to Peter Drucker, sums up the recent fervor to focus on organizational culture. Yet, with all the talk, why do we see little action—few organizations that actually change their culture? Culture catches us because we typically don’t see it as something we can change, tweak, or improve. Instead, we show up everyday saying things like, “This place is crazy;” or “This is so frustrating. I wish we could do things differently.” When we talk about our workplace in this way, we’re not in control, our culture is. It is our culture that drives our environment and the way we do our work instead of us driving and shaping our culture. We become resigned to it as if it were some unruly, entity outside of us. While everyone in the workplace contributes to the culture on a daily basis, leaders have the most leverage to influence and change it. To do so, they must first understand what culture is. It’s the “way we do things around here.” It’s the unwritten rules of their workplace that shape the environment and behaviors. Then, leaders must be able to fully see all aspects of their organizational culture—are we, to name a few, risk-averse or risk-taking?; process-obsessed or process-indifferent?; hierarchical or egalitarian? Then comes the key question. Once leaders can fully describe their organizational culture with detail, they need to ask themselves: “Is this culture the culture that will best enable us to reach or organizational vision, mission, and strategy.” 99% of the time, the answer is no. That’s when leaders need to take charge and figure out what that ideal culture is. They need to drive and create the effective culture they need versus being driven by the ineffective culture they have.

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