What is your culture? This question is asked often. Few have the answers. The reason for this is simple: you live culture. There is no such document as “our culture document.” If you have such a document, chances are that no one follows it.
In 2014, I won a project to provide strategy execution support for a not for profit organization. At our first inception meeting, I asked a group of nine members of the top management team, “what is our culture here?”
The room went silent.
It is difficult to explain “a specific company’s culture.” For culture, comes out naturally. You cannot just say “our culture is teamwork” or “we eat together.” Or “the customer comes first.” Culture is more advanced than these mere statements.
If you observe waterlogged areas, you will notice that as water starts receding or drying up, some land features are revealed slowly until the seasonal river finally dries up fully. Such a process may take a long period of time. Many areas near lakes which people have now built, were once covered by water. That is how culture is developed. It takes a very long period.
Here is how to implement a culture:
Step 1: define values and behavior that demonstrate living the values.
Step 2: Set up systems that promote living and practicing of the defined values.
Step 3: Put in place monitoring systems to identify and celebrate people who live the values.
Step 4: Capture and share stories of the people who demonstrate living our values.
People say Messi, Ronaldo, Pogba, etc. are great footballers. No one of these people can play alone. They all need a team of colleagues to help pass the ball to them.
No company succeeds because they have star employees. Companies succeed because they have employees who work as a team.
What is our company culture?
To answer this question, you must first answer the question: what are the values that guide our behavior?
How do we live these values?
Remember, if your value is teamwork: you must demonstrate trust. How do your team members allow individual member vulnerability?
To be continued…
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.