This article is a coalescence of my direct experience with over 5,000 companies worldwide during a 5 ½ year tenure with a renowned global Institute focused on organizational transformation, along with a decade-long devotion to and study of Yoga as a philosophy and discipline. The concepts referenced here are a conceptual extrapolation of Chitta Vritti and Kleshas as taught by The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar.
Walking into a football team (The Patriots), company (Netflix), institution (Harvard) built by and for a strong and vibrant culture, we feel it instantaneously; it’s practically tangible. Culture is not an edict. It’s an aggregate; a sum greater than its parts.
How do we look at our own organizational culture? Everyone wants to point at culture, objectifying, saying, “fix it,” looking for the class, method, operating system or prescription to do the heavy lifting. Few are willing to turn that point inward and recognize the way we each individually add-up to its very existence.
One way to approach a current state observation of your organizational culture is to look at where fluctuations or variations in the mindset exist. Variability commonly reveals itself across these five categories.
Look within yourself and among others for differences in thinking and practice related to:
Variability will 100% exist. Investigate for yourself the correlation between the degree of variability in the collective mindset on these points and the strength of the culture. Here’s why.
At the root of it,
Contemplate whether the structure (hierarchy and departments) of traditional management nurtures the following traits, and whether revolutionizing the way we work could alleviate them. The behaviors listed below cause fluctuations in the cultural mindset and organizational pain. Contemplate without judgment how and when you express these behaviors, or how you respond when you find them present in others, or find them embedded in the way the organization operates:
If culture is the sum of its parts, then our effort and focus necessarily turns from the sum to its parts. To one another. To ourselves. Culture grows out of you and me. Value the enormous insight available in differences, invite feedback on behaviors, working with sincerity and awareness to purify the thinking and actions you apply toward the organizational objectives that matter. “Change yourself, change the world.”
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