Culture is Key?



I have found it extremely difficult to elicit a straightforward definition of Culture from most people; even Management Consultants. It is essentially three simple words:

Culture = Values, Beliefs & Assumptions

The above video is a 90 second abstract of the 2013 Culture & Change Management Survey conducted by Booz & Co. Their key findings are:

  1. Out of the 2200 business leaders interviewed all over the world, 84% aver that Culture is critical to business success and over 60% believe that Culture is more important than Corporate Strategy and Operating Model.
  2. Half of them believe that culture is badly mis-managed and under valued in their companies and the other half believe that Culture is not even on their agenda.

You can read the report and its findings using the following URL:

I have yet to read the report but here are some perspectives from a Transformation & Change Management perspective:

  1. Culture doesn’t seem to figure prominently on organizational agenda because they are Performance Obsessed. The view taken by most people in enterprises is that, there is only time to churn the numbers.  There is no place for Values there. I won’t have a job if I am not the part of the club. As a consequence your beliefs and assumptions whatever they might be at the core, become irrelevant to one’s current existing set of circumstances. This is not weakness but mere survival instinct.
  2. There is a poor narrative in most companies on how Values, Beliefs and Assumptions should be embedded in the processes of the enterprise; because processes in the best of enterprises is disjointed. So when a process is not shared that manifests a process, how can culture be?
  3. Culture is not cool. If anyone starts discussing it, he is the nerd of the office. Or he is the theorist. Until some aspect of culture doesn’t hurt me, I am not going to be the one donning the Santa Cap is the dominant attitude.

Social NetworkThere is only one way of bringing back Culture to the table in enterprises. One needs to start focusing on Potential rather than on Performance. The enterprise design must look at the Promise of design that can shape how an enterprise continuously strives to discover its Potential in all the five dimensions of its enterprise architecture;

  1. The desire for Leadership rather than Competition therefore leading to renewed Business Models that is facilitated by a Strategic Enterprise Program.
  2. Product, Process and Services designed to the Aspirations of Consumer and Consumer Experience.
  3. Enterprise Transactional Business Processes that are globally agile from the perspective distribution and reach with medium, channel and device independence.

In essence, one needs to rewind the enterprise clock to go back to the basic of bridging the Potential with Performance with a New Promise. An enterprise that will find renewal a joyous participative exercise and a permanent one as opposed to the periodic projects where management consultants tinker and tape the organization and bruise people more than the balm they supposedly are required to apply.

Bottom line is that, today we operate in an environment of great Trust Deficit; be it in Enterprises or Societies and even Families. We need to create a Trusting environment to make Culture an item on the agenda of  not only enterprises but also families and societies. Everything else is poppycock.

About Subbu Iyer

Subbu Iyer is an Innovation & Transformation Leader as with 28 years of serving customers globally. He is currently the Chief Designer & Transformer at Energizing Innovation, an enterprise that is being founded to facilitate continuous growth in enterprises and as a consequence create societal wealth. The Radical Shift that this enterprise intends to employ is focusing on the Potential rather than the Performance of a business. He has been a serial entrepreneur and an intrapreneur in his past life, having founded Nihilent Technologies and Nandaki Systems besides being associated in senior leadership roles with firms such as Coopers & Lybrand, Cambridge Technology Partners, Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro Technologies and Steria.
Video | This entry was posted in Business Process Management, Business Strategy, Business Strategy & Innovation, Business Technology, Change Management, Customer Management, Innovation, Management, Society, Transformation and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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