We have all heard some form of the phrase “culture eats strategy….” Then what happens to managers within that culture?
If you think about culture as a prism that refracts what you put into it resulting in behaviors that effect results then culture is something that can either eat or leverage what lives in the prism of an organization.
Managers, who are the bridge between strategy from the top and the rest of the organization are caught right in the middle of the prism. They are also caught between the current need to press forward and the residual “leader culture shaping” from the last leader, yet a manager’s job is to enable and execute on the strategy using the organization.
So are managers doomed?
How do you, as a manager, navigate this? How do you, as a leader, help your managers succeed in this environment?
We have found success in a methodology of thinking. If one can begin to predict the Cultural Prism refraction, one can work to adjust the input to get results they want. Working as a team, a manager and a leader can begin to adjust actions by both that effect tactical actions and help shape the environment in which the cultural prism refraction takes place.
For the refraction, it’s about the performance of the prism over the type of the prism. Culture is like the brain, it is placid in nature. It evolves and adapts as it encounters different inputs and exhibits traits at different evolutionary states. So we suggest monitoring it through a performance tool that focuses on traits tied to performance to be able to see how the culture is behaving against inputs.
This also allows something like culture, which is non-linear in nature, to be able to be talked about from a data-oriented, linear perspective. The tool we use is the Denison Organizational Performance Model where your cultural capacity to perform is benchmarked against a current global index. This allows the dialogue around culture to be aligned around data verses a more unstable alignment based on opinion.
A manager is then armed with data to have honest dialogue with both forces they are between, leaders and the organization.
The perception is then talking about the data not the messenger’s opinion.
We then overlay The Morse Group Change Model of SOCiT™ – See it, Own it, Create within it.
Depending on the data scores from the benchmarking a manager can begin to see and predict where to focus and where pitfalls may appear through the processing of inputs to results.
The Denison Model can not only give a big picture current performance state, but can also be used to leverage conversations and thinking around behaviors and routines to effect change. This then builds toward results in different refractions from the cultural prism for better performance and growth.
In summary, the manager does not have to see culture as a constraint that they do not have the ability to reframe.
Through dynamic tools like the Denison Model, managers can now begin to have constructive aligned dialogue to begin to be methodical about getting the results they need from some that is very non-linear, like culture.
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