Thursday, April 19, 2007

Organizational Culture

As usual, visiting Gautam’s Blog triggered me off into catching up with some of the current hot topics. Bob Sutton’s new book (The no a.h rule) seems to be hugely popular, going by the amount of debates and discussions it is generating in the blogosphere. Sad to note that this means there’s no escaping the fact there are more a.h in the corporate world than there ought to be. Yea, that’s the idealist in me speaking. Anyways, Bob (in collaboration with Guy Kawasaki) has come up with a list to assess one’s future boss’ a.h quotient. Among the comments in response to his post is one that I think is brilliant. It is about assessing the overall culture of the organization and the commenter, Wally Bock, suggests the following. I love it. I really think these three questions tell a lot about an organization’s culture.

I have three questions I use to get a quick handle on the culture of an organization.
1. What kind of people get promoted around here? The behavior and performance you reward is what you'll get more of.
2. What "bad" behaviors are tolerated here? This is good for patterns of behavior.
3. What kinds of stories do people tell each other? Stories are the carriers of culture. Beware if all they tell are "dumb boss" stories. Understand that service is a value if what you hear are "heroic service" stories.
Wally Bock

I guess if there really are no clear answers to one or more of these questions, then we are talking about an organization that’s groping in the dark and has so much churn that the culture is nondescript. That’s no good either. :(


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the kind words.

A note. You can ask the first two questions of people you meet in the organization. They tell you the stories that allow you to ask the third question.

Nimmy said...

Thanks a ton for leaving your thoughts on my blog, Wally! :) I really intend to use your advice to find out more about organizations that I am associated with! :)

astha said...

I love these...thanks for highlighting them. I think I'm actually gonna use them for an upcoming presentation :)