In preparation for our presentation at the Ultimate Culture Conference we are featuring a series of tips about culture, culture change and culture challenges.
Edgar Schein, Professor Emeritus with MIT Sloan School of Management is known for popularizing and writing about culture. His books on culture include the Corporate Culture Survival Guide and Organizational Culture and Leadership. In an interview with Culture University, he defines culture as, “the sum total of everything an organization has learned in its history in dealing with the external problems, which would be goals, strategy, how we do things, and how it organizes itself internally”
Why does culture matter? Culture operates at many levels within an organization and can be one of the greatest causes for success or failure when leaders want change. Whether it’s a new business strategy, an acquisition or new leaders joining an organization, culture plays a role in the outcome of every aspect of life.
Why does culture matter to you?
- You are responsible for leading a project at work; the organizational culture is either supportive or opposed. If you do not understand the impact of culture you increase your risk of diminished project returns.
- You are evaluating candidates for a position. How a candidate fits with the culture will make or break their success. One of our clients has terminated the last two people who were in the Senior VP of HR role because they didn’t fit the culture. It’s expensive to hire the wrong people. It’s disruptive to the organization and dishonoring to the candidate that doesn’t fit. Do your cultural due diligence and make sure there is a right fit.
- You see a new opportunity that you want to pursue. If the culture doesn’t support who you are, you will struggle to be effective and achieve your intended outcomes. Culture can make or break your career. When you are looking for a new opportunity be sure to ask questions that help you understand the culture and whether or not it’s a good fit for you.
Culture is like the air, it’s all around you but you may not notice it until it becomes toxic. The better the air the better you will perform!