Leadership teams shaping organisation culture

What is organisation culture? And what is the role of leadership teams in influencing culture?  I am often asked about organisation culture and what leadership teams can do to establish the culture they want in their organisation.

Google tosses up more than a million articles on organisation culture in less than a second. So you may understand my trepidation as I add one more. The definition that makes sense to me, is ‘the way we do things around here’….in other words, the way we behave and interact with one another. It also means that any work with culture is then within our influence.

Culture, even a fragment of it, is complex. And of course there are many factors that influence culture. So what are some of the influences in how we do things in the groups we are in as leaders?

I have identified three levers that leadership teams can use in shaping culture.  Here they are:

  1. Leaders can respond to and integrate the shifting contexts of their organisation and provide direction to those around them.
  2. Leaders can take responsibility for the emotional quality of their relationships with one another and with their staff.
  3. Leaders can attend to their behaviours with one another; how they air their different perspectives and opposing views, how well they listen to one another,  how they provide guidance to one another and how well they shape their agenda together

Why do I take this approach?

One key concept for me is “Think globally, act locally.”  This became popular when the environmental crises emerged and I see it is an analogy that provides a systems perspective of influence.  Personally,   I like working with the dynamic relationship of overview and detail, big picture and immediate action.

This is reflected in the three levers above with which leaders can directly influence culture.  

 If you want to hear more, talk with me, or listen to my free podcasts at http://diana-jones.com/category/podcast-series-at-the-heart-of-the-matter/or download them free from itunes by searching under At the heart of the Matter

© Diana Jones,The Organisation Development Company 2014