Why Culture Matters

Measuring culture, using business terms aligned with the emerging context and pragmatic enough for middle management to fully contribute, is essential but, like a well worn sock, you need to pull the organisation's culture on to truly know the way things really happen, where the holes are, and what it is that makes your business strong.

As you walk through an organisation, you have to "feel" the culture, work your observation gene, interpret not only what you see but what you don't and become the alter ego of the middle manager as the needed culture can only come to life with their full support.

There are two cultures; formal and informal. The latter is, ultimately, the more important. In moving forward, it's not enough to connect with those who shape the strategy. You have to inspire the organisation's informal leaders, a new generation who now make up the majority of the workforce and, no less important, those who do work for you but choose to do so remotely.

How decisions are made often happens outside of the discipline and rigour suggested by the organisation structure. This is especially true if the team works remotely or in different locations. This merely goes to endorse that the ideal organisation, by way of design, would:

  1. Reflect how, given the opportunity, people would choose to work together.
  2. Assume that the team leader works for the team and not the other way around.

In charting a course for a different future it's essential to:

  1. Be informed by the emerging social, political, economic and competitive environment; as both what's demanded and what's possible lies within.
  2. Recognise that developing strategic scenarios are essential.
  3. Understand that you can't sprinkle agility onto the organisation; it has to be fully embedded in the culture.

As we seek to "reinvent possibility", technology clearly makes an enduring contribution. Here we need to recognise that, although not an end in and of itself (as many suggest), if it can be digitalised, it will be digitalised.

Why the compelling need for digitalisation? Speed, simplicity and service are characteristics of competitive success that, more often than not, determines who wins and who goes home. If dissatisfied, customers are rarely without easy-to-access other options.

Insights from "Leadership: Moving Beyond The Crisis".