Targeting Corporate Culture and Hitting Bullseye

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Jesse Jacoby provides a post that explains why it is so difficult to communicate your vision of the corporate culture you would like to have, and what you can do to articulate the abstract.

Ask 100 managers how they define organizational culture, and you’ll probably get as many different definitions as possible. Even scholars cannot agree; and that means that your definition is as appropriate as anyone else’s. This makes the challenge, however, of creating the culture that you want particularly difficult, because it is almost impossible to hit a target that is ambiguous.

How can you describe something abstract in concrete terms?

How do you say, “This is what I want,” when there is no this to point to?

And how do you say, “I don’t want that,” when you cannot point to it either?

At best, you can only identify parts of instances or results that please or displease you.

Perhaps that is the wrong way, or at least the less helpful way, to look at it.

Before you can decide what culture, you want, you need to consider the elephant in the room. The elephant is that culture, no matter how you define it, is touchy-feely. It is all about the people in your organization and their collective attitudes, expectations, and behavior. And so, whatever you want must be thought of in terms of what they do; how they’ll act and react collectively.

The easiest way to decide what culture you want is to start with someone else’s definition, and then add to it according to your needs.

For example, organizational culture has been described as a kind of personality. When you think about it like that, then you can delineate between the one in your organization and the one in someone else’s. You may not be able to identify all the differences exactly, but at least it will give you a starting point.

 

Key points include:

  • How perceptions factor in
  • Understanding the thoughts-feelings connection
  • Working backwards

 

Read the full article, How to Create the Culture You Want, on the emergentconsultants.com.