Tuesday, November 27, 2007

For all the talk about culture

Many organizational change jobs are about changing the 'culture'. I've seen a few definitions of what 'culture' is, some are complicated and others are simple. There are a few that consider a number of indicators and others that define 'culture' in a single sentence, usually something like:

"Culture is the way we do THINGS around here."

My working definition of 'culture' is similar:

"Culture is the way we do PEOPLE around here."

That's where I think it should begin. Just by looking at the way we treat each other in our organisation. If we change that, then we might not have to change anything else.
On the other hand if our processes, structures and other THINGS prevent us from treating each other well, then we should look at changing those too.

No easy answers - it's not change the people OR change the structure, but I still think that the litmus test for culture is how we treat each other.

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