Aligning a definition of culture is something complicated. There are almost as many definitions and interpretations of culture as writers in the field. We particularly like one we got at a conference we attended some time ago: Culture is the observable part of an organization, department or team. We take the freedom to add: It is the what and how an organization spends its time and resources. Both things are easily observable.
Once we agree on this, we wonder –and ask you– what is the effect of the leadership style, the chosen strategy and the way of exploring and facing unknown territories in the culture of an organization.
Based on our experience, we suggest the following sketch to define the foundation of culture:
- Leadership is the main base on which all the capabilities to generate a given culture pivots. We mean by leadership the capability to inspire, be a role model, influence –in a flexible and adaptable manner– and support –with patience and perseverance-. We all know that the behavior of an organization is the reflection of the behavior of its leaders. If the leadership is not right, the triangle is not stable. This is why we represent the “L” apex at the base.
- Strategy is the choice of where we want to be, how we want to be perceived and valued by the market and where to focus our passion, our time and our resources. If the strategy and its tactical development are not challenging, coherent and solid, the resulting culture will be negatively affected.
- Innovation is the spirit and willingness to explore new territories, to experiment and manage uncertainties that may, perhaps, lead us to the world of incremental innovation when restricted to routine day to day activities. If we are courageous to experiment and manage initiatives full of ambiguities, we will end up in the world of more radical innovation.
This year we will accompany our news with glances. We said here that culture is the observable part of an organization. We invite you to our first glance:
Yes, we are seeing an organization from a distance and through a commercial setting, but … What do we see? What does transmit us about the company? What kind of culture we perceive behind? And … how have they come to build it?
Keep on thinking!
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