Self Monitoring Cultures

As the resources industry returns to a more balanced employment market, it is important that as a leader or manager you invest more time and money into strategies to retain your talent.

As the resources industry returns to a more balanced employment market it is important that as a leader or manager you invest more time and money into strategies to retain your talent.

Creating a strong culture that maintains itself is the ultimate goal of many organisations but is achieved by very few.

These thoughts as presented by Steve Simpson from the Cultural Intelligence Newsletter provide practical reasons as to why such a goal is worth striving for as well as what you can do about getting there. Steve is in an international speaker, consultant and author and more about Steve and his organisation can be found at www.keystone-management.com.

When a financial protocol is breached in a business it is highly likely that immediate action will follow. This is because in most organisations people are clear about what constitutes appropriate behaviour when it comes to finances and what the consequences are for failing to uphold them.

As a result it is rare to hear complaints about the need to comply and it is taken as a given that rules and regulations apply and people must conform. Compliance as a result is rarely an issue.

However, when it comes to Organisational Culture things can be far more lax!

Most managers I work with admit that their people often display behaviours that are inappropriate but more often than not these behaviours are left unchallenged. This is despite the ready appearance of values statements on walls around the business premises.

Steve observes that in his work with organisations he often comes into contact with senior management who are cynical about the value of focussing on an organisation’s Organisational Culture. He observes that typically if there are doubters, leading the pack will be the CFO or equivalent, with the reason not hard to understand.

Put simply, Finance matters are tangible whereas Culture is not. Finance is relatively easy to track whereas Culture is not. When financial protocols are breached there are procedures that kick in, whereas when Culture goes awry there are often no conventional procedures to guide non-compliance.

A clear conclusion from this is that leadership needs to understand culture and then develop protocols to manage it and sustain it.

In the absence of management doing this, staff will undertake the function anyway! This is achieved by observing what is allowed to occur without there being any consequences.

  1. If people treat each other with disrespect and there are no consequences for that behaviour then you have a culture that allows and encourages this.
  2. If customers are treated badly and there are no consequences then……
  3. If people speak about other departments in disparaging terms and there are no consequences for such negativity then the culture will encourage more of this.

In short, cultures ARE self sustaining, largely through what goes unchecked.

So if poor financial ethics are allowed to persist without consequence then poor financial ethics will continue. Similarly if poor cultural attributes are allowed to continue then that is what will prevail.

It is time for leaders to clarify the culture required for their organisations success and then have the strength of their convictions to make that non-negotiable for everyone.