In today’s era of rapid globalization, organisations operate both on virtual and physical multi-cultural teams. Multi-cultural team processes and culture is, in itself, a separate topic. As organisations reach their brand to various parts of the globe, there is an image & an identity that goes along with it. This is the brand image, personality and identity.
Physically this manifests as a logo of the organisation, the people representing the organisation and the contents being offered. But interestingly, the external manifestation and representation of the brand, is totally dependent on the value system that the organisation believes in and alignment of the same with its employees.
Coming from different corners of the world, individually, we carry with us our own baggage of diverse cultural beliefs into work. Whilst most self-development books and managers’ guides tell us to operate, in what’s possibly two silos—a personal self & a professional self—in reality that’s a tough call. Tough because we are governed by our emotions and our emotions come about due to the habits we have. Habits, in turn, are behaviors that we project every minute of the day.
Having worked across industries and countries and developed a quite a few multi-cultural teams, in my opinion, an organisational work culture comes about from a collection of beliefs and the resulting behavior from it. These beliefs come about:
A) From the organisational processes and the purpose of the specific processes for e.g. monthly management meetings and purpose of those meetings
B) From the way senior management manages these processes i.e. the individuals own work-style personality that is expressed in the meeting
These, in turn, result in certain behaviours which directly impact employee motivation and engagement, as well as the quality of output of the work. Overtime this set of behaviours, becomes the unwritten norm for the organisation in terms of:
• Interaction within colleagues i.e. internal brand representation &
• External interaction with stakeholders i.e. external brand representation
This behavioral environment, of the work process and its execution, represents itself as the character of the organisation through its staff and becomes the organisational culture.
Why is work culture so important for an organisation?
It’s important, because it’s the work culture and the underlying behavior (of that culture) that allows you to know if specific changes can be brought about successfully. In leading a change management process the single most critical aspect of the change process is to have full comprehension of the organisational culture present.
How does this help?
A) It can help identify specific leadership behaviours and work group climates that benefit the organisation.
B) This, in turn, results in a review of which processes are effective based on specific desired behaviours.
Lastly if a change management program is on the cards, undertaking specific behavioral changes prior to the implementation of the change management program, enables the organisation to re-train key executives on both leadership style and processes. This has a direct impact on doing things differently in order to get the planned results.
A word of caution–whilst training is one thing, enforcement or ensuring that they use the new learning is another.
We human beings are creatures of habit and habit comes about through the discipline of continuous behaviours. To bring about desired behaviours some amount of dis-comfort would have to be created through meticulous enforcement. As only through continuous enforcement will behaviour change. When behaviours change, habits are impacted upon.
Thus, if there is a long-term approach towards the business and its operations, behavioral change that impacts on work culture change, can be brought about.