Standout organizations commit themselves to creating a culture that is consistent with their long term strategy; if culture and strategy are not directly linked, achieving strategic goals is impossible.
But the cultural development journey is a long arduous one; it normally begins with a mosaic of beliefs, behaviours and values in the organization that must be evolved into the one that reflects the strategic journey it has chosen.
At a very high level, people tend to be in one of two cultural camps – a faction or divergent.
A faction is a group of people who all exhibit the same characteristics. A crowd controlled by a set of values and rules where individuals are encouraged – and in some cases commanded – to think and behave in a calculated way; to conform to a predetermined set of societal rules.
Individuals in a faction are crafted from a common blueprint; stamped with the same tattoo.
There are benefits to being in a faction.
– People don’t have to think for themselves. They follow the rules and are treated like everyone else around them. It’s a comfortable environment. Stuff gets done for them. They blend in to the flow.
– There are few surprises people in a faction have to deal with because of the controlled environment. They know that when they do something, they can pretty well predict the outcome with few exceptions.
Life as a faction member is good – or at least it would appear.
At the other end of the spectrum is a group of people who reject control and rules; who resist the notion that they should be guided by any force.
They are divergent. They are independent thinkers that don’t support and cannot be controlled by any preset rule system imposed by others.
They create their own box to play in and put it all on the line.
They are contrarian by nature and tend to oppose the flow. They view the status quo with disdain.
There are 5 reasons why a divergent culture has greater long term potential than a faction one.
1. Creativity flourishes
Exploration of new opportunities is the focus to replace the same old same old.
Energy in the workplace is high; fun is the norm. Colouring outside the lines is not for the faint of heart, it requires high octane fuel to be constantly looking for new different stuff to do.
2. Change happens
The dynamics from divergent-driven teams are exhausting because everything is constantly changing. Managing “change as the new normal” is a challenge to leadership but stuff gets done and strategic progress is continually made.
3. Personal growth fosters
Because of the ability to express their individuality, people in the organization grow in terms of their job performance and career. The people management systems of divergent-organizations are all geared to facilitating individualism and personal growth.
4. Performance increases
It’s amazing what happens when leaders encourage divergent behaviour. People are continually pushing the boundaries to discover something new; the number of tries becomes a key performance indicator.
Remarkable cultures are driven by the divergent crowd not by factions who are controlled and are comfy with their lot in life.
Roy Osing is a former President and CMO with over 33 years of leadership experience covering all the major business functions including business strategy, marketing, sales, customer service and people development. He is a blogger, content marketer, educator, coach, adviser and the author of the book series Be Different or Be Dead.
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