As a supervisor or mid-level manager in a global company, you may not have the power to shape the entire culture, but you do have the power to shape culture in your department, local office, or workplace. It is not a question of whether or not you shape culture, but whether you shape culture consciously or unconsciously. The way you speak, the language you use, and the behaviors you exhibit influence the culture whether you are aware of it or not. When obvious signs emerge that indicate workplace drama, such as absenteeism, turnover, negativity or low morale, the leader can start to shift culture by changing language and behaviors. Here are some snapshots along with the behavior and a communication example to help you shape culture and improve business results.
What are your beliefs about organizational culture? Some of your beliefs might inhibit your willingness and ability to proactively improve the quality of your work culture.
New clients ask me very similar questions when I start guiding them along the path to a powerful, positive, productive culture. Some of your beliefs might be challenged by my answers! Here are those questions and my responses.
Everyone in the workplace knows that the bottom line matters, and that without a healthy bottom line, jobs are at risk. Everyone also knows that customer satisfaction matters, since without it there is no healthy bottom line. And everyone knows that quality of products/services matters, because without it the customers won’t be satisfied. And more often than not, this is where the conversation stops.
Professor Edgar Schein reiterated the essence of culture’s cerebral nature at the 1st Ultimate Culture Conference in Chicago, hosted by Human Synergistics last fall when he reminded the attendees of the erroneous tendencies of many professionals who approach culture interventions as a quick fix. Dr. Schein accurately opined on the need for culture and change consultants to fully understand as well as appreciate the intrinsic complexities involved in cultural transformational engagements. For to attempt to change an organization’s culture is to attempt an arduous task. To attempt to change culture, if at all possible, must be with extreme caution, consideration, and patience because culture exists on two planes: the simpler and easier is the visible, peripheral stuff ; while the harder is that which lies deeply within and referred to as the skeleton by Dr. Schein.