Is your Organizational Culture Becoming Rusty?

There has been a lot of talk about Organization culture among companies these days. Organizations today, amidst the economic waves hitting every industry, are struggling big time for survival.   Often they are not able to identify what is holding up the pace of your organization even after having the best of the strategy, manpower and technology in place. Some things are so integral and entrenched within the system of the organization , that are often overlooked upon , especially when it is doesn’t prop in in Business Review Meetings and don’t occupy a space in your Venn diagrams. Culture is one among such things and is often not recognized by professionals to play an important role in enhancing or impacting the productivity of the organization.

On the other hand, culture is what resides at the ground level of your organization. It is not to say that once defined, it shall remain so forever. Infact with every person coming in or leaving the organization contributes and defines the culture. They are the underlying beliefs and the assumptions that prevail within the organization. These could be written and laid down, other times they are unsaid and understood rules and regulation that are prevalent within the working of the organization.

Although we do   say culture is dynamic and changes with every new entry/ exit in the organization, it is not to say it can’t be defined. Rather for the management, Culture is captured in the simplest of the forms when we talk about the “Values”, “Mission and Vision” of the organization. Its defined in the dos and don’ts that the management expects its employees to abide by. How it wants its employees to behave in the organization, what kind of communication it expects from the people. The importance of this lies in the fact that the management wants to impart a vision and a future outlook where it wants to see the organization in the long run.

Having a productive culture becomes important for the management as it demonstrates a shared vision, a common path where it would want everyone in the company to walk upon. However for the employees it comes down to the simple fact of being “Valued”. How respected he feels while talking to his boss, what he/she thinks of the work he does for the organization, how does it get contributed to the larger goal of the organization. Does he/she feel like the organization they are working for is actually their own?

Organizational culture and productivity are closely related. Simply stated, productivity is the art of getting the company's products and/or services to the customer at the lowest possible cost. But it is more than that - it is related to quality, to customer needs and being empathetic towards them. In the era of customization and made to order, this becomes all the more important. Productivity is a result of motivation, and motivation thrives in a good climate. If management is to transform this fragile good climate into a long-lasting culture for success, it will have to focus on culture and productivity.

Apart from this top to bottom and bottom to top trickling approach Culture often gets defined with what has been happening within the organization since a long time. Tradition thus forms an integral part of culture. This often predominates the needs of the organization and occupies a huge space in understanding the ground level functioning within an organization. Staying within this system, professionals may not be able to recognize and identify its touch points.  There is thus a need to keep revisiting these with the changing times to ensure smooth functioning of the organization. Something as small as giving salutations at the start of your email or knocking on the door before entering another’s room demonstrates culture.

We spend more than half of our day working in our organizations. But does every one of us feel it to be “My organization, Our Organization”. How many of your employees feel that way? In Order to engrain this within the employees, they have to empowered, given the freedom to do what they want to do i.e. within the purview of the shared vision that the management has visualized.

It is for these basic reasons that organizational culture matters. It is the right thing for an organization to do - to think about the work environment, working relationships and "how we do things here." But it becomes all the more important to define what is not allowed in the organization. As, if not defined it passes along as being accepted behavior and makes it positioned within the working of the organization.

The requirement is to be focused on the vision and to impart it down and percolate it to the most bottom level of your organization. This will happen only when the management is sure about what it wants and gives the power to its employees to execute it.



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