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Guest 2020-11-25 14:34:45
Culture as a Force

Culture as a Force

An input for somebody is an output from someone else.
We usually consider people receiving input as passive, while who produce output is active (with all the related ethical considerations of the case). I will put aside the emerging debate about the prevalence of outcomes over outputs… and I will keep using the word output here.
I’m comfortable in thinking the Culture as a Force (shall the Culture be with you), a powerful one, indeed. Every force has an intensity and a direction. The more the intensity, the more the thrust in the (wanted) direction.
In a community, each individual contributes with his own culture to the community, and the community’s culture is the net result of such individual vectors. No surprise that sometime the net-force is very weak, due to mutual smoothing, typical of the silo cultures and strictly compartmentalized organizations, when explicit and implicit boundaries limit the propagation of initiative and change.
Leaders have the option to leverage direction and intensity of the community’s culture.
Please, notice the "and" (it’s not an "or") in the previous sentence. I believe that increasing the intensity without changing the direction is not a viable option, because it will simply turn out in a bigger chaos with more inertia and resistance to the change: radicalism and fanatism are typical cases.
Good leaders manage the direction, great leaders manage both.
Direction can be managed by providing vision. A conversation with people can shift their perceptions and orientations. The too often used sentence “it’s not a problem, it’s an opportunity” is a try in this approach.
Intensity can be managed by motivation, which is harder to provide, because it must be tailored on individual needs and ambitions, often requiring also incentives which must be found and allocated.
When all is well done, the leadership will produce (output) a newer, winning culture.