Culture is an indicator of potential

Companies are founded and businesses are run on high energy and lofty aspirations – I guess you could say each new year starts off the same way too!

Unfortunately, over time, those aspirations fade and expectations drop – often without us even noticing it. The net result? Only a limited kind of success becomes possible or realistic.

I certainly don’t mean to sound defeatist and I am certainly not suggesting giving up and settling for less than what you are aspiring to or have set yourself to achieve. NO! I am merely saying that perhaps the solution lies in a place you haven’t looked or thought of looking in before.

What I am saying is this:

Business issues (a lack of financial or other performance) have less to do with your strategy and operating model and everything to do with your culture.

Business 101 says that when there are “issues”, the best solution entails making a bold move with the balance sheet or the strategy – close something or get rid of something or someone. A quick fix with good short term benefits and mixed long term implications.

Business 101, at best, pays only lip service to the aspect of culture. “It’s an HR imperative, there are no short term benefits or quick wins, we can’t afford it” are just a few of the most common responses.

Culture is an indicator of potential  – strategy and operating models are what you have to bring that potential to life.

I am not advocating a large culture change or transformation program – sadly those always tend to be too complicated, too broad, or too esoteric, or are just way above what most organisations (or people) can or are willing to confront.

Culture is never all good or all bad. What I am advocating and what is needed, is to identify and capitalise on existing positive emotional elements already inherent and embedded in your culture but that are overlooked or under utilised. We aren’t looking to extract a long list of things – just a critical few elements that if properly harnessed, would make a world of difference.

Richard Pascal author of “The power of positive deviance” writes

“People are much more likely to act their way into a new way of thinking than they are to think their way into a new way of acting”

Changing behaviours rather than mindsets is the most practical way to change the culture.

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