lördag 13 juni 2015

Culture! is...?

(This post was triggered by a discussion on culture change I had with some English speaking fellow agilists. I write in English for them.)

Sometimes you end up wondering if culture begets behaviour, or if culture is a consequence of the behaviours that flourish. Depending on how you define culture, the answer will of course vary, but if culture is a common expectation of how we and others ought to behave given a certain set of circumstances I say that both are correct. Behaviours form expectations, and expectations affect our behaviours.

One idea that I have a hard time to grasp is the idea that you have to change the culture in an organisation before you can alter the behaviours that are prevalent there. I wonder how one can accomplish that at all. What, besides behaviour, can transfer knowledge about people's expectations? How is culture communicated, other than by behaviour?

We can communicate expectations and be clear in our reactions when people behave in an untolerable manner.

Behaviour can be affected by conscious action. It is how people act and react that in time will form culture, so by affecting actions and reactions, we will change culture. Rules and regulations often lack power in themselves to change culture, but sends a clear message and creates a formal backdrop. If we raise awareness on how we actually behave, we might inspire an urge to change, and by providing alternatives we make the change possible.

Action needs decisions, and decisions are made out of feelings, how we spontaneously evaluate a situation. That evaluation is made in a context formed by interpretation patterns we inherit from our past. By reflecting about the past, and bring new words and images onto the table, we will affect how things are framed.

No single tool will change culture. But culture isn't static. It is either sustained by current words, images, and behaviours; or it is changed by us when we change. So let's change.

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