Many well meaning leaders are brought down because they overlook the power of the culture of their organization to make or break their well laid plans.
As leaders we need to concentrate on the hard issues of running an organization – the finances, the legal implications of our business, the research, the marketing campaigns- all of which are very important but we often overlook the soft issues such as culture that directly affect the way people behave in our organization.
In many organizations nice quotes are put on walls about what the organization’s culture SHOULD be but the reality is very different. If you don’t consciously and deliberately design a culture that is based on an understanding of WHY you do what you do and set the backdrop for HOW you plan to do it then you will end up with a default culture which is usually based on what a boss likes or dislikes. Most people want stress free relationships so, to avoid the wrath of the boss, they do what she rewards.
If you listen to people who come to your office with stories about their co-workers and act on this hearsay then you are building a culture of distrust and segregation where your employees do not feel safe or fairly treated. This fear will permeate everything they do and eventually it will negatively affect your bottom-line.
What is the culture in your organization? If we were to interview those you work with would they agree with you? Do they feel like they are part of a real team or have they retreated into self-protection mode because they lack the training and the reassurance that they are TRULY valued?
When you know your motive for doing what you do as an organization then you need to look at how you are going to do it. Both of these aspects will create the culture of your organization whether you have deliberately thought out these questions or not. Every organization has a culture, great organizations use a well thought out culture to achieve their goals.
If you don’t make an attempt to set up a strong organizational culture that rewards the behaviour you expect in your organization then it will fall prey to the negative aspects of the wider culture.
What does your organization do to help your staff navigate this new world? Capitalism and democracy call for different skills from much of traditional African society. How are you helping individual employees in your organization to be their best in order to increase their productivity?