Organisational culture has been cited as a contributing factor in recent scandals like VW’s ‘Dieselgate’, the banking, royal commission and even the ‘ball-tampering’ scandal in Australian Cricket. It’s a strong statement about the influence of culture, and the responsibility of leaders to create the right culture.
How many times have you given staff a clear instruction only to find it was ignored or changed in some way? Why does this happen? Because culture has more influence over behaviour than you, your leadership team, systems, training programs, or anything else.
Therefore, what is this thing called ‘culture?’ Too often, it’s defined as either ‘the way we do things around here’ or ‘shared values.’ But those definitions don’t explain the actual phenomena that occur, they define the outcome.
Culture is ‘the attitudes and behaviours people unconsciously adopt to fit in with the expectations of the people around them.’
If someone walked into your company and heard everyone complaining about management how long would it take them to start complaining about management? Not long. They would quickly adopt the attitudes and behaviours of the people around them. The ability to role model others and adapt behaviour to fit in has been developed from childhood and is so deeply ingrained it is a natural and instinctive behaviour. It happens without conscious thought and most people aren’t aware it’s happening.