Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Does Building a Digital Culture Need a Strategy

In reality polarities or paradoxes embedded in cultures are not necessarily problems, they need to be managed, but cannot be solved.

Culture is perhaps the most invisible, but powerful fabric surrounding the organization. It is the collective mindset, attitude, and behaviors. Leaders, believing in the effects and high value of a company culture, need a lot of resilience, resistance to critics though reflecting and maybe adjusting themselves to follow their roadmap continuously in building a strong culture. So does creating a culture itself need an internal strategy? Does it start with "What are we staying for?", "How to address it right?" "Who is in my team to do so?", "What are the milestones of implementation?", "What will be better when we did it?” And “what are in-depth understanding about the culture at the first step?”


Culture is analogous to the foundation of a building - you can architect and construct the best building in the world, but doing so on a shaky foundation is a waste of time. There are times an organization's culture won't effectively support what it needs to do to be successful, in which case the best strategy is to first fix the culture and/or create the desired culture. This is hardly a simple or easy fix, but it is often the right one. Those responsible need to wake up, look around and start fixing the problem - which often means first fixing themselves, shift the mindset and bring the wisdom the workplace.


Culture is the real, underlying heart of an organization -regardless of what may be publicly stated in a mission statement or the like. When an organization determines its strategy and puts it forward in action, the organization is stating its true culture, the heart underneath the surface. It is impossible not to, much like it is impossible for an individual to maintain any behavior long-term that is in opposition to their paradigm. So, it is true that culture is more important than strategy. And maintaining cultural coherence across a company's portfolio should be an essential factor when determining a corporate strategy.


Culture is more powerful than strategy -If the strategy is at odds with the culture then there is no real contest. But that does not mean culture will regularly 'eat' the strategy. It’s important to recognize that some of what are often considered problems to be solved are in reality polarities or paradoxes to be managed. These cannot be solved, but must be managed as interdependent opposites. A lot of wasted time and effort can go into attempts to solve organizational polarities (whether strategy, structure, tactics, or culture). Examples can be things like stability and change, centralization and decentralization, individual and group, quality and cost. The balance between, values, and strategy must be part of every organization with the genesis of positive emotions (which is the catalyst to changing culture) flowing from the executive leadership team. Putting emphasis on creating a healthy organizational culture to separate mediocre organizations from flourishing and sustainable enterprises.


Culture takes all forms - some 'out of control cliques' and some 'microcosms of diversity.' Culture is critically important to a business's success so it is appropriate for business leaders to be a bit obsessed with it. And sometimes in businesses, what is taken for a problem in culture is really something situational. In those cases, the culture doesn't need to change per se but that situation does. The best companies do more than mirror the world. They utilize that mirror to reflect the skills and talents of all of their employees. Business leaders who recognize they have a problem with their culture want to change for the better, to benefit all concerned. Don't let those underground bad apples spoil the whole company culture that a founder or executive team worked very hard to build for the benefit of their customers. It's whatever the leadership encouraged, excused, or condoned shapes what culture turns to be, so they brought it upon themselves. In high-integrity cultures, every person has the opportunity to exhibit leadership by upholding the company core values and advocating the culture of innovation.


The strategy is what you envisioned would happen, culture is what reality sends back in return. It is feedback for fine tuning, it is the master of proofreading, the final test all your thought process will experience, it is the teacher that will show you what you can do more and lecture you on how you can still do better and be better, it is the gravity that holds your dreams to the ground. It is very true that cultures can change and, in fact, are evolving all the time. The key thing to remember is that they evolve from the top and the line executives with regard to how they actually manage the business utilizing the values and attributes that are noted in the company culture statement. If the actual management values and attributes are not utilized in practice in comparison to those listed in the written culture statement, all employees will know that it is a falsehood.


The spirit of an organization comes from the top. The mindset and actions of the leaders define the culture. It is what they do AND what they do not do.That only changes the culture if coworkers, management, and leadership ALLOW those actions to define the company. You will always have people making mistakes or bad decisions, but it's how you handle those situations that determine if those actions are now part of the culture or just an anomaly. It is true that the management team can say one thing that seems appropriate, then in practice, are very biased and narrow-minded, not at all in keeping with respect, fairness, or honesty. Typically, management teams will really use the Company Core Values as a guiding parameter on anything they do. Every action changes a culture - no matter what level you hold. Leaders set the tone, but they aren't the only ones who set the culture. In fact, when leaders think the culture is one thing, but those at lower levels have a different experience it can create even more issues. Everyone in an organization 'owns' the culture with their part in it.

Culture building and change are a transformational shift, it needs a strategy, a good one - First, diagnose the real problems, and then set guidelines to change it. No doubt that culture change is more complicated than any other types of changes such as software update or an organizational restructure. Culture change is a slow and complicated process. But it’s worth the effort if it can boost your strategy implementation and lift up your organizational maturity.

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