Managers and leaders with a firm sense of what their organizational culture is — a common tool kit that enables their employees to act, and the beliefs and commitments brought forward by acting in certain ways — can help their employees navigate the current environment in a way that is authentic to the organization’s history yet flexible to the realities we all face.
- Culture is the holistic and somewhat mysterious force that guides actions and interactions in the workplace.
- Sociologist Ann Swidler describes habitual practices as the core carriers of culture. She argues that people draw from a “tool kit” of cultural habits and practices. Knowing how to use a culture’s tools — that is, when and how they apply — is the real mark of belonging to a culture.
- Welcome modifications to the cultural tool kit. One benefit of thinking about culture as a tool kit is that it alerts us to the fact that we have a variety of tools at our disposal when we get things done in an organization. And, like a real tool kit, we often have more tools than we regularly use.
- Tool kits also change somewhat over time. This is because we all are exposed to various cultural tool kits through other aspects of our lives.
- Use disruption to bolster the cultural core. Not every aspect of culture is equally critical to guard.
- A time of disruption presents an opportunity to remind employees of aspects of an organization’s past — founding ideals, stories, and commitments — that have shaped both its culture (how we get work done and think about our work) and are central to its identity (who we are as a company). Building up these core elements of culture can remind employees of an organization’s strengths and help them navigate tough times.
- Disruption can also open the door to challenging outdated aspects of a culture that are nonetheless given outsize symbolic and ceremonial value but are now holding back needed transitions.
Category 1: A new, better world for everyone
[genioux fact extracted from MIT SMR]
Authors of the genioux fact
How to Sustain Your Organization’s Culture When Everyone Is Remote, Jennifer Howard-Grenville, June 24, 2020, MIT Sloan Management Review, Fall 2020, Vol 62, No 1.