What is organisational culture? A practical way to think of it is as habits and ‘norms' – the way we do things, again and again.
Sometimes being stuck in these habits and norms is helpful – things are stable. At other times they can get in the way. Whatever we do to make improvements, things go back to the way they were. This can be very frustrating!
The art of leadership is knowing when stability is helpful, and when things are stuck. And doing what is needed to preserve stability, or to help unstick things.
These habits and norms show up in stories and rituals. In systems and procedures – and in the way people get around these too! And most importantly they show up in how we to talk to each other, whether in formal meetings, or informally – in fact, wherever and whenever people meet.
Leaders can start to shift these habits and norms by changing the way they themselves speak, and how they listen. This affects the people around them, and new behaviours may start to emerge.
Leaders can also create space for new kinds of conversations – by, for example, discouraging conversations that go round and round. Instead encouraging real understanding, concrete proposals, and decisions that everyone supports.
Getting curious about habits and norms can help too. All this can build participation and belonging – leading to increased well-being, productivity, resilience and growth. And, ultimately, more positive results for the organisation, and potentially for society.
Making these kinds of changes may seem simple. But it isn't always easy. The situations we're in make a big difference. So if you would like some support, or just to learn more, please feel free to get in touch, using the details above.