Friday, March 9, 2018

Lean Quote: Culture Changes When the Organization is Transformed

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Culture does not change because we desire to change it. Culture changes when the organization is transformed; the culture reflects the realities of people working together every day." — Frances Hesselbein

Corporate culture, safety culture, quality culture, lean culture …What is the culture of your organization? Is it one that reflects the values of your business and is supported by the behaviors of all those that work there?

Culture is made up of the values, beliefs, underlying assumptions, attitudes, and behaviors shared by a group of people. Culture is the behavior that results when a group arrives at a set of - generally unspoken and unwritten - rules for working together.

An organization’s culture is shown in:
(1) the ways the organization conducts its business, treats its employees, customers, and the wider community,
(2) the extent to which freedom is allowed in decision making, developing new ideas, and personal expression,
(3) how power and information flow through its hierarchy, and
(4) how committed employees are towards collective objectives.

In a healthy business culture, what's good for the company and for customers comes together and becomes the driving force behind what everyone does. Culture determines what is acceptable or unacceptable, important or unimportant, right or wrong, workable or unworkable. It encompasses all learned and shared, explicit or tacit, assumptions, beliefs, knowledge, norms, and values, as well as attitudes, behavior, dress, and language.

The culture of an organization is learnt over time. It can be taught to new employees through formal training programs but is more generally absorbed through stories, myths, rituals, and shared behaviors within teams. 

Company culture is important because it can make or break your company. Organizational culture will impact positively or negatively on everything you try to do whether you want it to or not. Companies with an adaptive culture that is aligned to their business goals routinely outperform their competitors.

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