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.

Friday, November 23, 2007

short-term management

I was scanning my rss feed and from the BBC I saw "Airbus fears 'weak-dollar' death" - the weak dollar is threatening the survival of the European planemaker Airbus, its chief executive says.

So how long - really - has the dollar been weak? And so what? Is this company really so threatened by the short-term?

How come there are so many managers/executives blaming external circumstances so quickly for what might in reality be internal problems?

What really gets my goat is that if these guys had been properly strategic a weak dollar might have been part of their outlook for some time. I've been hearing predictions of it for at least 5 years.

The real question they need to ask themselves is along the lines of -

'Just how well have we fulfilled our responsibility to the company, employees and shareholders of building strength and resilience into operations?'