In my old consulting days we used to assess an organizations performance relative to customer and employee relations. In 100% of the cases the number one barrier to improving customer and employee relations was the culture.
What Is Your Organizations Culture?
Organizational culture is the personality of the organization. Culture is comprised of the assumptions, values, norms and tangible signs (artifacts) of organization members and their behaviors. Members of an organization soon come to sense the particular culture of an organization. You can tell the culture of an organization by looking at the arrangement of furniture, what they brag about, what members wear, etc. — similar to what you can use to get a feeling about someone’s personality. Some cultures are created by the style of management and others are influenced by the the organizations design.
Corporate culture can be looked at as a system. Inputs include feedback from, e.g., society, professions, laws, stories, heroes, values on competition or service, etc. The process is based on our assumptions, values and norms, e.g., our values on money, time, facilities, space and people. Outputs or effects of our culture are, e.g., organizational behaviors, technologies, strategies, image, products, services, appearance, etc.
Your culture can choke or ignite ideas, serve as the medium for outstanding performance from individuals or create an attitude of not caring about the organizations performance. I am sure you’ve both seen it in action and in most cases experienced it as well. But mostly from organizational cultures that constraint the free flowing of communications and ideas.
The “Cultural Dynamics” of Social Media
The popularity of social media is largely created by the free forming of communications without constraints that are evident in most organizations. Open and free communications have never before been enabled for mass engagement and contribution until now. The implications for business is both opportunistic and dangerous at the same time.
Just consider the stories of employees on Twitter or blogging about the company business without the knowledge of management. The stories are all over the place which in turn have created a “fear” of social media by many businesses large and small. However, consider the opportunities for businesses to tap the imaginations and related conversations of their employees and the market of conversations.
Business thrives on innovation in product and service to attract and create loyalty from the marketplace. The amount of knowledge available in today’s marketplace of conversations ignites creativity and innovation from the least expected participants. Creativity and innovation is no longer contained in corporate departments or even from the smartest of the smartest. Rather, the power of creating innovative ideas lies in tapping into the waves of conversations which share ideas and opinions on how to make things better, more productive and valuable.
Change your culture and get the ideas out of cultural prisons. The problem is that changing the culture sometimes means a change in Leadership. Given the historical and current influence of politics changing leadership may be the hardest task. Unless of course the market changes and your business loses everything it once or thought it had.
Social media creates conversational currency that fuels market changes. You can lead or follow or even be destroyed by these changes. Change your culture and get the ideas out of prison. Get it?
What say you?