Organizational culture is “the way we are” today, including the laundry list of do’s and don’ts that the old-timers share with newbies on their first day of work. It’s “the way we do things around here,” even if we’ve forgotten why we’re doing them. It’s the collection of observable patterns in an organization at the present time. People naturally assume that these patterns will continue into the future. And they probably will, unless the organization experiences a deep, sometimes radical, change.
Organizational culture is made visible through behaviors, and behavior is driven by assumptions, beliefs, and patterned thinking, in addition to the conscious choices that we make to perpetuate that culture. As my mentor, Dr. Edgar Schein, has taught me, organizational culture has both an internal side—how we get along, how we do things—and an external side—what we do to survive and grow, including our strategy and tactics. Culture infuses both the internal and external through the deeper assumptions of who we are, our identity, and our sense of our brand based on our history.
Your organization’s culture is the invisible water in which you swim. It’s what’s left when there’s nobody left to blame
Your organization’s core message must inspire your people to breathe life into your values. Make it a message worth remembering.
Establish two or three timeless guiding principle that will not only serve you in the present, but also guide you in the future.