There are two dominant reasons why organisations’ cultures fail to optimise and lift themselves above the line of mediocrity. The two reasons are Naivety and Ignorance.
Naivety refers to an organisation that does not yet know that culture is important. Meaning the awareness that the culture is and always has been important to the organisation in driving performance, has escaped the peoples’ notice. This occurs usually as a result of the fact that the business systems, products and customer approval of your services has likely been enough for the organisation to do well. It is only when the company matures and the challenges and complexities within the business increase, that the real role of culture begins to be felt and its importance recognised. Because culture is not understood when these challenges arise, the organisations’ leaders do not know how to respond and often default into blaming their staff and systems for the resulting chaos.
Ignorance refers to an organisation that does understand the role and importance of culture but for one reason or another chooses to ignore the culture. This can happen for a number of reasons, including;
The business becomes distracted with other business challenges and the role of culture is ignored.
A change of company ownership or leadership who don’t share the same insight or experience of recognising cultures importance.
The culture has matured to become “ just the way we do things around here’ and so is no longer given the conscious recognition and celebration to keep the culture fresh, agile and energised. Things become stale, and habitual.
Cultural Naivety and Ignorance, are the two most common reasons organisations fail to optimise their culture. Is your business guilty of either?