Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Culture: An Internal Invisible Hand

Culture At Work

      In an organization, culture is a way employees do things to achieve common goals. It is the combination of process and priority. When employees solve a problem, they instinctively learn culture from the feedback of colleague and bosses. In other words, they learn which problem is  important (i.e., priority) and how to solve the problem (i.e., process).

Self-Managing Organization

          Culture helps turn an organization into a self-managing entity. By getting feedback from those around them, employees soon learn what’s right and what’s not. Soon, no one has to tell the employees what to do and what not to do. 


          At Pixar, each team does not just hand over the job to the director and move on to do other stuff. Instead, they  provides the director with daily brutal criticism. At Pixar, everyone is willing to tolerate criticism in an exchange for great original films. This approach works most of the time, and people recognize it. Soon, people just embrace this culture. The manager does not have to micro-manage the project, because the culture does the magic to make everyone works under the same priority. 

Building Culture

          To build a culture, you first need to find a problem. Then, you let a team try to solve it. If they fails, ask them find another way to solve it. When you face the problem again, let the same team solve the problem. By repetition, they will learn what works and what’s not. They would slowly build up the culture.
“Culture in any organization is formed through repetition.”

However, if you don’t explicitly state the culture you want your organization to adopt, culture will still emerge anyway. But the developed culture could be different than what you expected. Again, culture emerges as process and priority are repeated and yield good results. 

Culture in Your Family

The importance of Culture At Home

          We talked about the right capability for our kids. Process is more important than resource, and priority is more important than process. But, perhaps, culture is even more valuable than resource, process, and priority. Once the culture sets in, you don’t need to be worried about your kids’ capability. Culture will tell your kids what to do (priority) and how to do it (process). 

How Do We Build a Culture at Home

          The first thing you need to do is to define the culture you’d like to cultivate. Then, you need to design activities to help instill this culture. This is not an easy task. You can’t just tell your kids what to do. Doing that would be just to help them acquire a skill--a type of resource. Furthermore, the kids might resist what you told them and the culture will never be developed. 

          For example, if you’d like your kids to be kind. You can’t just tell them. You need to be with them, and influence their thoughts. When it is possible to make a kinder choice, you need to help your kids make that choice. Your kids need to think that the choice is theirs, not yours. This way they can feel proud of making that choice. They will remember how good they felt when the choice was made. This feeling will be instilled deep in their heart. Soon, it will become their culture. 
“You have to consciously work through the years your children are young to help them see success in the things you want to be a part of your culture.”

Source: How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton M. Christensen, James Allworth, and Karen Dillon

Book or Audiobooks?

Personally, I prefer audiobooks. It's fun, and I can listen when I'm doing something else. It also makes other activities (e.g., jogging) a lot more fun. For more detail about audiobooks, please read [this post].

There is one more reason that may encourage you to go for the audiobook version. You can get it now for FREE. Audible offers you a free trial for 14 days. Even if you get the book and cancel the subscription right away (so that you don't have to pay), you can keep the book. And, don't worry if you lost the audiobook file. Just log into audible.com. You can keep downloading the over and over again.

   About the summary: It takes time to finish up a book. And, when you do, sometimes, you want to review what you learn from the book. If you do not make  notes as you read, you might have to go through the book once again. This can be time-consuming when you are dealing with a book. But you can still flip through the book and locate what you are looking for.

However, when the material is an audiobook, it is extremely hard to locate a specific part of content. Most likely you will have to listen to the entire audiobook once again.

This book summary will help solve the pain of having to go through the book all over again.

I am leaving out the details of the books. Most books have interesting examples and case studies, not included here. Reading the original book would be much more entertaining and enlightening. If you like the summary, you may want to get the original from the source below.

1 comment:

  1. Great Article
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