Control from the Depths

Play with culture at your peril

  1. Artefacts: how the system presents itself internally (on the walls of the offices) and externally (in its marketing communications). How the company looks — its brand logo, colours, language used — represents the most open signal of its culture
  2. Espoused Values: the ways the organisation explains its action to itself — we did X because our value is Y (see! it’s on the wall). Ask why something happens here and this is the answer you’ll usually get
  3. Shared Assumptions: the tacit beliefs shaping how people actually act, which may be hidden from those in charge (we believe we’re ‘open and honest in our communication’ but in reality we’re duplicitous and highly political in how we go about things around here).

“…culture is emergent and is the result of millions of interactions, behaviours, artefacts and stories that people build up over time. It is unpredictable and results in surprise” [2]

“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.” ― Pablo Neruda

You don’t fight narratives with counter-narratives — you fight them with action that leads to new, authentic, narratives emerging that nudges the culture and shapes how people act.

“What we all want is to be valued member of a winning team on an inspiring mission” (G.Weston)

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