By Dr. Jason Carthen
Do not underestimate the lasting effects of organizational culture. “Really not sure why they hired them anyway.” “It seems like we are always holding their hands until they get it!.” These are just some of the types of responses that I receive on the anonymous surveys that I administer when I am asked to go into organizations and help address conflict or assist with leadership development. Many of the conflicts are related to organizational culture and how exactly to cultivate a positive environment on a lasting and consistent basis.
Understanding Organizational Culture
In a recent Harvard Business Review article, the merits of understanding Organizational Culture were culled from a pool of LinkedIn respondents based upon their own personal experiences dealing with various organizational cultures. While the article offered a look into varying perspectives, one thing was missing…solutions for toxicity! Organization’s are living breathing organisms made up of people that bring their own positive and sometimes negative experiences to the organization on a daily basis. The leader who is sensitive to cultivating the organizational culture creates opportunities for lasting positive effects.
Edgar Schein weaves a wonderful tapestry in his book Organizational Culture and Leadership concerning what a leader must do in order to set the tempo for followers to experience success no matter their place in an organization. These are five takeaways from my interaction with his work.
1. Mission and strategy must be in alignment with the individual’s own understanding of their purpose in the organization.
2. The establishment and movement toward goals in the organization must be developed with consensus while remaining relevant.
3. The path to the goals or the “means” to achieve them must be mutually understood and accepted.
4. All progress must be tracked and demonstrate an understanding of the group’s success together and how each one is doing their part.
5. Group consensus must be targeted on the path to correction or a repair to flawed systems or behaviors that stymie the organization’s ability to go forward successfuly.
Avoid the Feeling of Drowning
Essentially, to avoid the feeling of drowning for any of the member’s of the organization, the leader must maintain a balance for all involved while not losing sight of the organization’s mission, set of belief’s and long-term vision. For the follower, they cannot be afraid to speak up about their perceived role and how they fit into the culture of the organization. In other words, if you are experiencing challenges make it known, if you are continually outperforming others, share your gifting. The real winner if the organization does well is going to be you!
Please leave a comment or post on my Facebook Page and share with our community the sheer importance of feeling a part of your organization’s culture.Thanks for staying connected!