Those who cultivate minds reap responsibilities and results
It is impossible to talk about organizational culture without accepting that it must be people-centered and never immutable
At corporate events, I hear phrases like “This is part of the company culture” or “We want to communicate the company culture” or another cliché about organizational culture. But what culture are we talking about?
“Culture” is a plural term, originating in Latin, whose etymological root is “earth.” It means the longevity between the acts of planting, monitoring, and harvesting — recurrent and sustainable actions. In this sense, the analogy with the development of habits and capabilities of identification (social, intellectual, organizational) as a “cultivation of minds” is coherent.
Some authors define culture as the result of shared patterns of behaviors and interactions, cognitive constructs, enhanced by interpersonal relationships. I agree, but I prefer the simplicity summarize it as a set of behaviors based on values and beliefs that converge in social groups.
But there are some impasses. The first one, often ignored by companies, is the understanding that culture follows time.
No matter how traditional you want it to be, it is not immobile. Culture needs to be a flexible and attuned treadmill, otherwise it will fall into disuse, become obsolete, and lose its meaning. Resistance to change (in the name of company culture) comes from the misconception that culture is an entity that, in order to be preserved, needs to be immutable.
No, on the contrary. Culture requires movements that generate responsibilities. When we talk about culture, we are referring to people. Therefore, we need to turn our attention to behaviors and interactions.
The pandemic shake organizations up because it affected people’s behavior. The change of habits caused us to review the structure of professional relationships and, consequently, the changes that took place.
Did this interfere with the culture of the companies? Evidently. However, it is important to state that the changes need to be digested, experienced, and validated in order to become part of the culture, because there is a logic established by the vision (direction) that guides the organization. There is nothing random in the culture.
More than that, between beliefs and values (components of culture), the vulnerable part is the beliefs. It is about the thoughts and the way of thinking that the company should devote itself to understanding in order to reorganize its communication and validate the culture.
Have you read “Mindset” by Carol Dweck? The author brilliantly describes how we can reshape the way we think and act, signaling the urgency of deconstructing plastered thoughts.
Once the initial resistance is overcome, we are faced with the second obstacle, which is to continuously build the organizational culture starting with people. We cannot expect results to be achieved if we only look at the final product and forget to work on the potentialities, the resources, the human capital.
To leave no doubt, interpersonal relationships are the noblest part of a company’s culture. They are what sustain and honor it.
That is why I am enchanted by the simplicity of the symbology of the action of cultivating minds as the purpose of organizational culture. The shared responsibilities are the best signs of the solidity of the organization, both for the numbers and for the history.