Friday, October 30, 2015

How to Cultivate a Positive Culture

Strategy guides change and culture is the pathways for the change.

Culture is "the pattern of values and behaviors prevailing in the organization or society." It’s invisible and untouchable. A company's culture helps define what a company is like. What it means to be part of the company, how to act in the company, what others in the company believe and strive for even how others see the company. So what’s your culture “expression”? Overall, do you have a positive or negative culture?

To maintain a healthy culture in corporate environments requires attention to corporate health. Nature and culture are classical opposites or complements. By nature we are "born that way"; by nurture, we learn to become civilized. In one sense, "nature" refers to everything generated or produced. Etymologically, the Latin natura is the source from which all springs forth. For metaphysical naturalists, perhaps also for methodological scientists, nature is all that there is, without contrast class. Humans evolved within nature. To maintain a healthy culture in corporate environments requires attention to corporate health, which includes deep democratizing and inclusivity. Otherwise, there are in-coherent conflicts and dissonance and downfalls. There is an unhealthy organization, striven and driven, by in-fights and conflicts, to create life-sustaining permacultures, which nurture our human nature and fulfill the needs of those within the productive culture and those beyond. so that production and supply harmonize, to develop as integral behaviors.

Culture is a collective mindset and attitude, staying positive is certainly critical as you move through change. There is no growth without change. Change is a part of our daily life yet how we approach it is quite complicated sometimes. After all, we know the definition of insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. It seems that many humans have an autonomic reaction to environmental change that can range from skepticism to much worse. Is this part of human DNA? As for culture change, the most difficult part is the first step of getting others in the group/team to acknowledge there's a problem - that behaviors and attitudes are negatively affecting business objectives and growth. That involves people being open and honest about ignoring the problem and/or how they are reacting to those unhelpful behaviors and attitudes. A positive culture encourages people to be accountable for not only what they DO, but also what they SAY. Creating accountability in the ever-expanding workplace is a multi-layered and multi-dimensional issue in today’s environment. Accountability is about ownership of an area of responsibility. Ownership creates pride in one’s work and goes a long way towards delivering excellence.

A culture is created and recreated each and every day by all the actions individuals within that culture take. Cultivating a positive culture is easier at the earlier stage of business. So shaping a mission and values at the earliest stages, if you have that ability during the founding phase, is the ideal scenario. Because building an environment from scratch is likely easier to do than changing one that has already been established and values present are accepted as status quo. Changing behaviors that are negatively affecting the company's ability to make a profit is clearly critical, A positive culture can lift a so-so strategy, but a negative culture can sink a good strategy which is indeed linked to Vision and Purpose - and only if one is positive, so is the other. Does that make change impossible - no. It just means you need to keep that in mind as you navigate and strategize any changes you want to make in organizations. To change a culture you need to change those actions, and change enough of them to cause a shift in the culture. Organizationally that is why culture change is so hard. And often when people talk about the need for culture change they are really talking about the need for climate change (not the weather but the atmosphere in a company). Strategy guides change and culture is the pathways for the change.

The core of culture has to do with the way people are treated. For example, a positive culture requires respect, responsibility, self-discipline, autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Contrast that with a typical corporate culture, which is bureaucracy, silo, centered around control, distrust, external discipline, dependence, and hierarchy. Changing culture is just like to change personality, it is hard, but it’s changeable.


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