How to build a winning culture

Today I have read a very interesting article about organisational culture change and how organisations empower staff  to create and in the end to build a winning culture .The phenomena is very well encapsulated into the culture change startegy as  :Culture is an integrated system of learned behavior patterns that are characteristic of the members of any given society. Culture refers to the total way of life for a particular group of people. It includes [what] a group of people thinks, says, does and makes—its customs, language, material artifacts and shared systems of attitudes and feelings. (Robert Kohls)

Do workplace perks and better engagement help create dynamic companies or does success ultimately depend on leadership style?Many leaders  instilled a democratic ethos from the start, involving staff in company-wide decisions and communicating everything that goes on in the business to employees. As we progress along the intercultural journey, we become self-reflective about habits of heart and mind and the ways these are expressed in daily life. We develop strategies for encountering change, unfamiliarity and ambiguity in creative ways. We begin to realize that what is taken, as ”common sense” is really ”cultural sense”. Our life becomes richer and deeper for having encountered differences.

In order to understand people, we have to understand their way of life and approach. If we wish to convince them, we have to use their language in the narrow sense of the mind. Something that goes even much further than that is not the appeal to logic and reason, but some kind of emotional awareness of the other people. (Nehru)

Handy was one of the first to identify that ‘careers for life’ were destined to become a thing of the past, and as a thinker Handy seems able to predict trends and changes on a global and fundamental scale. He is visionary, rather than an analyst, and sees huge, ‘big pictures’ and trends, rather than small effects and details.Handy’s first book, Understanding Organisations (1976, revised 1991) is well regarded. Gods Of Management (1978), is another highly regarded work, in which Handy uses a metaphor of the Greek Gods to explain different organizational cultures:

  • Zeus (power, patriarchy, ‘the club’ culture)
  • Apollo (order, reason, bureaucracy, the ‘rôle’ culture)
  • Athena (expertise, wisdom, meritocracy, ‘task’ culture)
  • Dionysus (individualism, professionalism, non-corporate, existentialist culture)

The employee does not have a responsibility to manage change – the employee’s responsibility is no other than to do their best, which is different for every person and depends on a wide variety of factors (health, maturity, stability, experience, personality, motivation, etc). Responsibility for managing change is with management and executives of the organisation – they must manage the change in a way that employees can cope with it. The manager has a responsibility to facilitate and enable change, and all that is implied within that statement, especially to understand the situation from an objective standpoint (to ‘step back’, and be non-judgemental), and then to help people understand reasons, aims, and ways of responding positively according to employees’ own situations and capabilities. Increasingly the manager’s role is to interpret, communicate and enable – not to instruct and impose, which nobody really responds to well.

To build a winning culture  you must  involve the people – change must not be imposed upon the people

Be wary of expressions like ‘mindset change’, and ‘changing people’s mindsets’ or ‘changing attitudes’, because this language often indicates a tendency towards imposed or enforced change  and it implies strongly that the organization believes that its people currently have the ‘wrong’ mindset, which is never, ever, the case. If people are not approaching their tasks or the organization effectively, then the organization has the wrong mindset, not the people. Change such as new structures, policies, targets, acquisitions, disposals, re-locations, etc., all create new systems and environments, which need to be explained to people as early as possible, so that people’s involvement in validating and refining the changes themselves can be obtained.

Whenever an organization imposes new things on people there will be difficulties. Participation, involvement and open, early, full communication are the important factors.It’s a view that returns to the essential argument of what culture means. How it’s defined affects the way companies create a culture.Culture change should always come from the top, and its hould be two way management approach -a win-win strategy  .t’s about leadership and making decisions that are consistent with the culture you want to create. It’s about carrying over the new culture into all activities of the senior team—from meetings and budgeting to the way they treat each other and their staff


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