“Flavor of the Month” – Culture, Culture, Culture

I am equally trapped into these sort of conversations now.  No longer we talked about business plan/strategy, organizational reform, BPR, Digitization, etc… Now the “flavor of the month” in the management-leadership agenda, at one point or another will gravitate towards ‘culture, culture, culture’.

Whether at a firm level or country level, culture seems to be the determinant lever of success-growth.

Therefore, we are now moving into the trying to master the soft areas of management. Presumably, the ‘harder’ aspect (structure, system, etc) are now made more ‘scientific’ and ‘systemic’.

Culture as a determinant is not new, it was in core to management discussion even during the manufacturing age.  However, the digital age (the net generation), are forcing us to redefine, and perhaps even rethink,  our understanding of culture change management.

Culture eats your structure for lunch

This article starts on a quote from Peter Drucker ‘Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast’, to now also ‘Culture Eats Structure for Lunch”.  I suppose now our (management-leadership) diet is culture.

Am waiting what’s for dinner and supper 🙂

Key to driving culture change is leadership.  We have seen even when you don’t have the best in class system, structure or process, with a leadership change everything seems to just work like a miracle.

The challenge is to institutionalized culture change, so that it is not personalized.  Hard, but doable.  Big corporations suggest that it is doable like the big oil companies, and the big consulting firms.  CEOs, come and go, but these companies remain steady.  Then there are institutionalized culture associated to community culture, like what we know of Japan, Korea, Germans, etc.  The firm’ culture is immersed with the community culture.  It sticks. So, it is  not the CEO, it is the people that makes it stick.

However, culture is not static, human culture is changing globally, affecting the people behaviors and expectations.  As such, organizational culture also have to evolve.  I suspect these large corporations will have a bigger challenge to drive culture change, than the smaller ones.

I suppose, if you don’t have a handle on culture change, then the expected benefits and outcome of strategy or structural change is limited.  Worst, it could be counter productive, as the culture becomes a destructive force.


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