The Art and Science of Organizational Culture is the secret to high performance.
Company after company, leader after leader, executive team after executive team, we hear the same challenges in the culture: “my team isn’t accountable,” “my executive team members are too focused on their function or division and aren’t thinking about what’s best for the whole organization,” “we are not aligned on the critical priorities for the organization,” “we need innovation and growth, but people are afraid to take risks.”
And, for decades, that was our experience as well. We couldn’t see the water we were swimming in – it was hidden from our view. We couldn’t understand why people behaved the way they did – why they would throw others under the bus (and why we would do the same). Eventually, we began to clearly see the art and science of organizational culture, including its obvious and hidden elements.
From the balcony view we’ve been privileged to have, things look much the same across clients, geographies, and industries. It seems to be simply an element of human nature. And yet, as we have delved into “why it doesn’t work/make sense for leaders and employees to behave in sub-optimal ways we’ve recounted above,” we eventually find hidden reasons that explain why these actions make perfect sense.
What we want to share with you is a straight-forward, practical, and complete illumination of your organizational culture, starting with what is hidden for most leaders.
There are dozens of highly capable consulting firms that can help organizations work on the most obvious aspects of culture. They can prepare for you a clearly stated purpose and also help you develop a set of values that align with your purpose and business strategy. Those values can be clear and easy to understand, whether they are lived or not. Many firms are also capable of looking at your policies, systems, or work practices in helping you understand where they are aligned with your stated values and where they deviate.
The fundamental issue with working only on the obvious aspects of culture is that the hidden art and science of culture are always at work, influencing how people behave and work together and that is how people directly experience the culture. You have to look no further than the back of the last Enron Annual report to see their shared values: Communication, Respect, Integrity, and Excellence.
By focusing on the hidden Art and Science of Organizational Culture, you can unlock your potential and unleash organizational results.