The Seven Principles of the Thriving Organizational Culture

Updated: Feb 28, 2020

Bringing the Cynics and the Idealists Together

To get you started, check first our post on why organizational culture has become the biggest lie in the history of organizations.

And here are the seven principles that can help you and your team create a thriving culture that is fit to pull off your business strategy.

1. Free yourself of idealisations and wishful thinking.

Let go of the tendency to idealise things for being trendy or ethically commendable. Let go of the feeling of superiority of your or anyone else’s ideas. Part also with assumptions of uniformity and eternal harmony.

Idealisation, strong attachments and feeling of superiority breed oposition.

2. Stop pretending you don’t hear the cynics. Give them a voice.

I used to refer to them as the “kitchen chatter”. Cynics are neither to be neglected nor to be hated. They are not the enemy (even if it looks like that).

Cynics are your best friend. Their chatter gives away the symptoms that can help you understand organisational ilnesses. Best — use them to create your early detection and prevention program.

3. Face the reality — whatever it is.

Create conditions for everyone in the team to face reality. Be open about the conflicts between departments, the silos, the office politics, the power games, the backstabbing, the challenges ahead or whatever else it is.

Empower everyone to face the reality free of judgement, guilt, fears or shame. That is the most effective way to ignite change and inspire transformation.

4. Let go of limiting beliefs on values

Most common limiting beliefs are that personal and organisational values are ethical norms or that they are stable over time. Another limiting belief is that personal and organisational values ought to be identical.

Values reflect our needs (personal or organisational) at a given moment. Any change in business strategy or organisational evolution calls for adjustments of organisational values.

5. Let go of using culture to control or ensure predictability.

Using culture to manipulate and control would always backfire at you — especially in today’s climate. Abandon also dreams of absolute predictability of behaviour and certainty of outcomes.

Embrace the messiness of disagreements and differences. Learn to simultaneously hold opposite concepts, co-create hypothesis, experiment and keep adjusting.

6. Divorce from the feeling of elusiveness.

Stop thinking of organisational culture as something intangible and elusive. Its effect on your organisation is pretty tangible.

Use intuition and inspiration as your guides but also bring data to perceptions. Use Culture KPIs as often as you use financial.

7. Do not pretend that announcing values is the same as living them.

Measure the actual values people and your organisation embody. Not the ones, you think you do. As the famous saying goes, “what you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”

Embrace the real (personal and organisational) needs and values. It’s liberating.

And last, let me know how it goes. Or ask us how we could be of help.

#organizationalculture #organizations #culture #organizationaldevelopment

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