Organization Culture – Performance Management for New Age Organizations
Then there is another shift that is happening everywhere. The purpose of an organization has changed from “making money” to “growing people”. From money is the purpose, people are the means, the paradigm is now, people are the purpose, money is the means.
Whether you are trying to transform the DNA of an evolving but old organization, or trying to embed this new age thinking in to the DNA of a new, emerging organization, the challenge is in breaking the established and accepted norms of behavior and creating new patterns of thought and action – in essence a cultural change.
Any organization culture is deeply encoded in its systems and processes, in its formal and informal channels of communication, in its structure of power and relationships.
We all know that it is exactly the same protons, electrons and neutrons (just the quantities are different) that make iron as well as gold. It is the same hydrogen that burns and oxygen that aids burning, which when together as H2O, can put off a fire and quench our thirst.
Similarly, the systemic and emergent aspects of an organization have a downward causation on its culture. That is why, cultural change can never be achieved by trying to change the individuals, without changing the structures, systems, processes and relationships.
Many organizations automate their existing knowledge, structures and processes, investing tons of money, making the existing culture of the organization much more stronger and difficult to change.
Some use the opportunity provided by new technology to re-engineer their business processes, making improvements by many orders of magnitude.
But very few use technology consciously as a tool for cultural change.
But while trying technology as a tool for cultural change, it is easy to fall in to traps. “Like re-engineering people processes”. Or “We are not managing people, but helping them to manage their precious resources such as time and skills”
Watching our vocabulary is an excellent way to “see” the prisms through which we see.
The word re-”engineering” – for obvious reasons – is not the appropriate word when dealing with people and culture.
And when we are managing time and skills, we are still dealing with “limited” “resources”, not with people and their unlimited potential.
History has many examples of how creativity in a fraction of a second makes many hours, days, years or even decades of effort redundant. And how people with no relevant skills (read past experience) have fundamentally changed the rules of the game in their field of action.
So creativity and entrepreneurial zeal of people (as against time and skills) have to be cultivated, nurtured and grown.
People’s growth and development should be the central purpose around which everything else have to be built.
2.3 Ramkumar R S, Entrepreneur, Mentor and Consultant 7 (Excerpts from his article)