Friday, September 17, 2021


Culture is not a mythical "thing" that comes automatically. It will change how the process works and how collaboration works.

Culture is a collective mindset, attitude, and behavior. We have to shift gears to see the culture of an organization as a collective whole living breathing, a human system composed of uniquely diverse people who have much to offer to grow and develop the culture as a strong organizational brand. 

An organization's culture reflects the values and pattern of behavior of its executive management and can be labeled as the organization's personality. It is the one thing that other companies can't copy quickly. It gives you competitive advantage, it reflects corporate value, lifts strategy; harnesses innovation, and encourages leading across boundaries, etc. Here are a couple of culture dots connections to build differentiated business advantages.

Culture & strategy: Every company has a strategy - implicit or not. Culture precedes a strategy, it can either lift or sink a strategy. Good culture can enable an average strategy; but a negative culture will decrease the success rate of a strategy. An organization's cultural orientation forms the basis for initiating and improving on strategies and sustaining it. Culture and strategy mutually reinforce each other. Some organizational strategies set the tone for the culture they want to develop; other organizational strategies ensure the culture is continued. In the highly mature organization, culture is the framework in which strategy is held for effective benefit and growth.

Culture is invisible, but powerful. Culture can undermine strategy, they certainly should be concerned. Culture must match strategy. and seek assurance that the culture is aligned with the strategy smoothly; Well crafted strategy, which does not take into account the organizational culture, cannot succeed, unless the intended changes in direction are expected to influence culture. In the age of disruption or discontinuity, strategies can shift, keep evolving, but culture should provide some continuity. It’s important to seek assurance that corporate culture is aligned with the strategy to meet the expectations of stakeholders. The management needs to have sensibility about their culture, if necessary, they also need to drive culture change, to adapt to the emerging digital trends and pull strategy execution towards the right decision.

Culture & policy: Organizations large or small are transforming from industrial silos to holistic businesses, a set of good policies nurture a desired culture and encourage good attitudes and behaviors. A healthy workplace culture decreases the need for restrictive policies. Sometimes, the overly restrictive policies will lead to micromanagement or over-controlling which leads to business bureaucracy, inefficiency and stifles innovation. Even though you have put the right policies in place, the management cannot manually change people’s mindsets or habits. Attempting to spawn a culture change at a policy level is likely to result in the opposite. Thus, culture cannot be imposed, it can only be developed by the management’s encouragement and incentive to drive positive changes.

Experience between high performing cultures and mediocre or negative cultures is that they evolve from the platform of trust and respect that cascades from the top. Setting principle guidelines, grounding rules and policies is important to shape a positive culture. However, the high performing culture is built through trust and being agile, self-management, interactive communication and continuous improvement. Culture becomes part of a corporate brand that either attracts or loses certain people because they have their own preference about cultures based on their set of values. With frequent disruptions and rapid change, well-set policies guide people through the journey of business management cycle and nurtures a good culture; a positive workplace culture is not less important, but more critical, because culture, as a collective mind and habit, is the competency to decide a business's long-term success.

Culture & innovation: Culture is about how people think and do things in the organization; keep in mind, culture and innovation are not always getting along so easily. In fact, there’s inertias, fricitions, conflicts happening when taking innovation initiatives in many companies, In order to sow innovation seeds in organizations, cultivating the culture of innovation is more important than training. Putting the right innovation elements to nurture a creative environment is about rejuvenating a "culture of innovation" which incorporates multiple and diverse components such as value, trust, communication, collaboration, simplicity, adaptability, and continuous improvement, etc. A culture of innovation like a blender, which can well mix three important ingredients in a high performance team -focus, passion, and teamwork.

Technically, the culture of an organization is composed of many intricate and interconnected parts, including corporate strategy and related strategic goals, roles and positions, core values, business policies & principles, communications practices, corporate attitudes, business processes and structures, etc. Thus, changing the organizational culture is not so easy because traditions are closely held as norms, values, and beliefs. In addition, the nature of organizational structure, the overly rigid hierarchy can slow the process of culture review and adaptation. To build a highly innovative organization, it's critical to foster a culture of creativity across functional disciplines and embed innovation management mechanisms into the corporate culture smoothly.

Culture is invisible, but the culture system is a powerful pillar to run a digital organization. Culture is not a mythical "thing" that comes automatically. It will change how the process works and how collaboration works. From top down and bottom up, culture needs to be deliberately designed and developed, with the intention to rejuvenate business innovation, enable changes and unlock business performance effortlessly.


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