Quick Read – Rituals reinforcing culture

Workplace culture is one of those things that is oft talked about, rarely fully understood.  Culture does not reside in a poster on the wall, the launch of a new set of corporate values, or an employee handbook.  Culture is not what we put on a piece of paper, it’s what we say and do, the accepted norms of the group we belong to.

Workplace culture is most evident in the seemingly unimportant rituals that send an unspoken message about what we really value.  Publicly announcing and celebrating a work-iversary shows that tenure is valued.  Hitting the gong for big deals shows that sales and revenue generation are valued.  An annual team charity work day shows that community is valued.  ‘Staff of children’ Christmas parties show that your family and life outside of work is valued.  These are all norms of groups that I have belonged to in the past, the rituals that send a message to those new to the group about what is valued by that group, and therefore, the culture of that group.

One of the interesting reads in my inbox this morning was an article proposing that rituals can be designed to strengthen culture.  So obvious, and yet so often overlooked when trying to figure out how to change a culture for the better.  If workplace culture is on your thinking list, give it a read, and then consider; what are your unspoken rituals, and what message are they sending?

‘Want to Strengthen Workplace Culture?  Design a Ritual’


Quick read of the week: BCG Global Challengers

BCG’s 2016 Global Challengers report is out and the short excerpt in the link below identifies the ‘five under-the-hood success factors’ that were common to previous Challengers that have graduated to become Global Leaders.

Some of the key pull out quotes…

  • “Many former global challengers [that are no longer on the list] also articulated a compelling vision. But they failed to create a culture that unified the company and amplified individual effort and achievement.”
  • “The operating models of global leaders are built to go global and to be adaptive. They are not modified versions of the model designed for the company’s home market.”
  • “They make smart local acquisitions and develop local partnerships to fill in the gaps in their coverage, product portfolio, or distribution networks.”
  • “One invested heavily in innovation, especially localized R&D. … The other company remained true to its command-and-control bureaucratic structure, which led to sluggish decision making and a lack of local adaptation. Its innovation strategy was reactive, responding to requests from customers, rather than forward looking. [Two similar companies, one that has become a leader, one with falling revenues.]”

Interesting how important the intersection of vision and culture is to success.  Further reinforces for me how important it is to have a winning view of the future backed up by an adaptable plan that creates clarity for multi-level decision making.