Just as rumors can fill the space of direct and clear lack of communication, a well-settled culture, fueled by shared premises, beliefs, values and principles, can permeate the organizational structure and formal communication and in fact serve as the north for the moments where employees have to make their toughest decisions and when supervision is not necessarily present.
This is the case, for example, if you decide to interrupt a particular task because you think it might pose a very great risk to your own safety or that of colleagues, or that there is a risk of high harm to the company or to society and the environment. If the right culture is permeated and nurtured in a company, no one will need to ask the boss to know how to act.
The culture of a company is important to the point of being designated as responsible for disasters or even exalted for having generated extremely positive results.
And when it is exalted by positive results, it easily turns villainous when they are reversed. An integral part and engine of reputation.
In mentoring, one of the main reasons for the feeling of inadequacy comes from the conflict of values and the perception of a culture of lack of transparency or yet is not predictable enough to serve as a guide to the behavior of peers and superiors.
In an article published by Profs. Phanish Puranam and Roland Berger of Insead, they simplify the concept by simply saying that “organizational culture shapes what employees do when leaders are not looking”…
And they continue, suggesting how to create a culture of collaboration…
- Define consequences of actions (the incentive-based approach)
- Define beliefs about which actions are appropriate (the architecture focus, or
set) of expected behaviors.
Studies carried out by the same professors indicate that the correct initial formatting of a situation (of which the mentor engages) with established beliefs based on a persuasive rhetoric, and / or an inspiring vision or well established criteria of recruitment, or with a well-constructed story about the future (as Peter Schwartz suggested in The Art of Long View, 1991) -can, under certain conditions, lead to a retro-nurtured culture of collaboration rather than being a mere symbolism or a mere plaque in the reception room of the company.
Three interventions have been identified that a company can do to transform its culture
- Selection criteria – identify and avoid professionals with a tendency to prioritize personal results to the detriment of group results (if this is not the desired culture)
- Socialization – investing in official training and communication channels, from top to bottom in the organization, determining and reinforcing a set of expected behaviors of employees
- Behavior field tests – practical applications of behaviors experienced in day-to-day life and constant interpretations of decisions in different situations. Face-to-face meetings, discussion of specific cases, examples, etc.
Of course, the individual’s ability to learn or adjust behavior – learning styles, interests, status, perceived gains, stubbornness, etc., varies from individual to individual, and for this reason to form teams with diverse behaviors and ways of absorbing culture and beliefs can be a great ally of the organization and implementation of its strategy of perpetuating culture.
We will briefly return to this topic with interviews where our mentors will tell us more about their experiences in situations of cultural change and / or conflict within organizations.