How to manage a Culture problem?
It is all about managing PATTERNS.
Wherever people work or live together, patterns start to develop and a certain culture grows.
All organizations have incrusted patterns that drive a certain behaviour among its members. As an example, traditional patterns are the divide between management and the workfloor, the way employees look at the management of the company, the way people deal with avoiding risk, the micro-control of the manager on the people's work, etc… Typically, a statement like “We have always done it this way…” is an indication of a pattern at work.
Patterns can be helpful in building conformity and standard ways of dealing with routine issues. They enable us to fit in quickly, they help us get oriented by providing some kind of guideline.
The set of patterns that dominate an organization make up its culture. When the culture of a company is in line with its ambitions, people feel motivated, inspired and engaged. However, nothing remains forever and when an organization is stressed with the need to quickly adapt to a changing environment, strong negative patterns have a tendency to become counter-productive. When the culture “feels bad”, patterns become visible through certain symptoms:
- frustration and stress become increasingly visible;
- failures become more frequent than usual;
- traditional problem-solving techniques do not seem to have the same effect;
- management feels “alone”, employees do not seem to listen, care or understand;
- problems that were thought to be solved come back time and again;
- increasing conflicts lead to a feeling of tension and even chaos;
- the feeling of “needing to do something urgent”;
- change “does not stick”;
- a sense of complacency, of resignation to the current situation
- a lack of drive, a missing “can do” mentality
Patterns are the indicator-gauge of culture. Patterns work at every level in the organization. That is why PIM focuses on the interaction in meetings to identify, measure and manage the patterns. What happens in a team meeting also tends to be reflected in other parts of the organization. Team interaction is a powerful instrument not only to measure but also to influence the patterns, and by extension the culture, in the organization. By improving the fundamental patterns of interaction in team interaction, this will radiate into the rest of the organization and in the end have a profound effect on the culture.