By Sam Thomas
An evergreen quote which is more often quoted than the business story – “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. The Author, Peter Ducker, implies how culture is important in an Organization to succeed, No Strategy would work out if the firm doesn’t have the culture to execute it. But what is really a Culture? And from where we get it?. Do we borrow it from other firms or Management schools? Are they readymade? Or are they born inside the Organization?
One of the Mckinsey articles says – Culture starts with what people do and how they do it. Culture also encompasses why people do what they do. But how these cultures are born and more importantly, who breeds the culture in an Organization?. The Answer is Every Employee in an Organization breeds the culture.
Culture is a collective thought process which is the cumulative thoughts and beliefs of each individual in an Organization. Top-Down Leadership to Junior Staff. It’s about coming together to solve a Problem either external to clients (or) internal to the Organization. When Leadership opens the door for fearless communications, solutions are closer than you expect. Encouragement is a viral thing – Allow people to do what they do best, Support them to fail gracefully more often and shoulder them to push their limits. You will be surprised by the results. The way you treat your employee journey, will define your Organization results which eventually will create the culture of how you execute the things. It fosters Innovation at every corner, it accepts changes when necessary. Organization Health goes up and you are no longer restricted by your hierarchy. Now you know how your organization thinks, how it likes to do things because it is contributed by each employee in your organization, not just by a few decision makers.
Organizations like Accenture, IBM, Deloitte (or) Google all have their unique culture of how they do things. In fact, even being a large Enterprise with 100K+ employees, Practices at each Business embrace the separate culture at their own level which is unique to the business and crafted for their targeted audiences (clients). They look for similar people who hold similar thought processes and have similar experiences. People in different practices work differently even though some of the foundational cultures may be the same.
At all my meetings with Richard Foltak, CISO at Dito and former Chief Architect with Deloitte, often says, “Leaders should lead by example.” He is an Industry Tech Leader with more than 25+ years cloud transformation experience and yet he gets excited to code at any granular level whenever it is required. A True Techie at heart.
One of our Senior Leaders, Marty Baker, a former Deloitte Director and Current Head of Delivery at Dito, always replies with a common English phrase, “I hear you,” and he makes sure all requests are heard inside the decision making room. Tammy Cyphert, a Former VP from Intel and current Chief Business Officer at Dito writes – “Ask for feedback. Give feedback. Receive feedback. It’s a gift to gratefully accept and to graciously give.” Tammy firmly believes, team is the true power. Then we have Dito’s own Principal Evangelist, KAM, who is always eager to help anyone in the organization at any level. You throw him any Tech problems, how granule or complex, he probably has an answer. These are the prime examples of Servant leadership – One of the core elements to create the right culture.
Culture defines the growth of any Organization and it is imperative to experiment with it till your organization finds its own Culture. However, remember this, some culture practices are foundational but many culture aspects evolve as the Organization grows and adapts to the new team. For example, at Google, the foundation’s culture philosophy https://about.google/philosophy/ was set. As an Organization they have changed a great deal but the foundational culture still remains the same.
Personally, I believe there MUST be four core foundations of any culture:
- Servant Leadership
- Fearless Communications
- Think, Apply, Fail, Repeat.
You will find that every high-growth company has similar cultural traits, however, they still do things differently which makes them unique. There is no Hard rule, it’s not ready-made. Culture is grown inside the Organization – By the Employees, For the Employees.
So what does your organization culture tell you? What do you think an organization’s core fundamental Culture should embrace? I would love to hear your stories.