Culture Chat

And other musings on humanizing the workplace
Human Cultures Need Systems Too

Human Cultures Need Systems Too

July 19, 2017
Jamie Notter

We have more than 20 organizations that have completed the Workplace Genome at this point, and while each Genome scan is unique, I am seeing a few patterns.

One is that when it comes to Culture Markers like Agility, Collaboration, and Transparency, we seem to be creating cultures that clearly value the human side of those capacities, but we haven’t worked as hard at the systems and processes to support them. For example, I see a lot of organizations with more evolved scores on things like “teaming up” and “sharing the workload” within Collaboration, yet they are very traditional on things like “borders, boundaries, and territories” and “cross-functional communications.”

It’s not enough to simply value humans working together (teaming up, sharing workload, etc.). That is important, mind you—if you have built a culture where people don’t want to help each other out, you have a different problem. But it’s not enough. You need systems too. You need processes that facilitate that collaboration. You need communication. Without that system and process support, and you might end up creating a culture where people “work together,” but only if they are in the same department.

Culture is not just about ideas. It’s not just about your core values. It’s about the nit and the grit of how things get done inside your organization. If you believe strongly in creating a culture that values things like collaboration, agility, or innovation, then I hope you’re willing to do the work of creating (or changing) processes and systems to ensure that happens. That’s culture management.

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