CORPORATE CULTURE & LEADERSHIP

Corporate Culture comes down to leadership. The following are excerpts from a March 2014 interview with Edgar SchienEdgar Henry Schein, a former professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, has made a notable mark on the field of organizational development in many areas, including career development, group process consultation, and organizational culture.. (FULL ARTICLE)

Culture is a result of what an organization has learned from dealing with problems and organizing itself internally. define culture as the sum total of everything an organization has learned in its history in dealing with the external problems, which would be goals, strategy, how we do things, and how it organizes itself internally.

Culture matters to the extent an organization is adaptive. Culture really only matters when there is a problem. In the same sense that personality only matters when things aren’t working right for you. Otherwise it’s just there.

Do not oversimplify culture. It’s far more than “how we do things around here.” If you don’t dig down into the reasons for why we do things this way you’ve only looked at the culture at a very superficial level and you haven’t really understood it.

Leaders should not focus on culture change. Focus on a business problem. If a leader just starts with how you change the culture then he already doesn’t understand the problem.

Your culture always helps and hinders problem solving. When that (what isn’t working) is clearly defined as a business problem then we can ask the question: well given the culture, is that going to help you solve the problem or hinder you, and it always ends up being both. 

Culture is a group phenomenon. Engage focus groups to define how the culture is helping and hindering work on a problem. Look at your culture from the point of view of what it is and how it is going to help and how it is going to hinder, but always in the context of what we are trying to do.

Solve problems by identifying and resolving associated discrepancies between values and behavior. Discrepancy between the values and the behavior is what forces you into looking at the root system and you discover that we have always been individualistic.

Don’t focus on culture because it can be a bottomless pit. Again, get groups involved in solving problems. Just get your people involved in working on the solution to your business problem. If you don’t have time for that, you are in trouble.