What is organizational culture?
I believe it was Edgar Schein who described it as “the way we do things around here”, though I am having trouble finding a specific reference.
Leaders generally spend a lot of time focusing on organizational culture. We try team building, casual Friday’s, shout outs, celebrations, and a myriad of other things. Those are all nice and can contribute to a positive work environment. However, there is a more fundamental approach.
If you have been reading for a while, you know that I describe culture as the internal forces resulting from the interplay between purpose, structures, resources, and people.
When people’s work is not aligned with the purpose, they may feel their work has less meaning. They will spend energy trying to change or work around structures that don’t support their work. They will struggle for optimal results as resources are focused in other places. These things combine to devalue people’s work and create dissonance and tension.
The most important thing you can do for organizational culture is to make sure that the work you are asking people to do is aligned with the purpose of the organization. The second most important thing you can do is to work to bring the structures and resources into alignment with the purpose.
It is simple. Not easy, but simple.
Do good and be well,