The Culture Carriers

Lest we forget - the environment; breakthrough technology; robotics; cobotics; new materials; a reshaping of the global economic order; sluggish organisations that, by way of design, are out of step with our emerging reality; the unprecedented manipulation and mental health issues associated with social media; social justice; and a host of other issues will only become more pressing concerns.

The implications are profound. A linear, unidimensional approach to planning - one that limits future options - is clearly dysfunctional. When agility and responsiveness are demanded, a strategic "straitjacket" is to hand the baton of future competitiveness to the competition. Conversely, a scenario approach must, of necessity, embrace both the best and worst of times.

Meanwhile, a plan that can't be implemented is just another … plan. Supporting the organisation's emerging value proposition, making the strategy come to life, marshalling the forces that combine or create a winning performance platform is why now, more than ever, the culture conversation must be front and centre. And it starts with coming to terms with what the key players - the culture carriers (those who have historically refereed how things get done) - think about the organisation's culture.

There is often a marked reluctance on the part of culture carriers to challenge the culture they created/supported or challenge the culture that made them successful. Considering the echo chamber that exists at the top of many organisations, pushing back too directly is likely to derail the conversation.

The best way forward with reluctant culture carriers?

  • Ask … don't assume.
  • Challenge … don't confront.
  • Prompt … don't provoke.

Explore the scope and nature of change that society in general and business overall is facing. It's an undeniable reality that tomorrow will be different! Very different. A business can't thrive in a vacuum; it can't survive if a philosophy of managing from the inside-out dominates the firm's thinking; if the status quo prevails.