Culture is created in the moment through the behaviours of all that inhabit it. An organisation can only be trustworthy or honest as measured by the actions of it’s people. History can provide the backdrop, but the painting is always contemporary.
But how do cultures fail? I’ve been exploring recently the pressures that can build between individual values and wider communities: between what we know to be true and right and how we behave to belong.
The CAIR model views these pressures through four dimensions: Cost (of being within a culture and community), Aspiration (the person you want to be), Investment (what you put into the culture) and Rewards (what you expect to get in return). I believe that it’s the different weighting put on these by different people that leads to the formation of sub communities, and it’s in the spaces between these communities, where we lack common ground, that bad decisions get made.View it as a mosaic: the tesserae are bright, but held together by the cement. If the cement is rotten, they move out of place and you lose the unity.
Organisations need to pay attention to where the gaps are forming, using diagnostics to explore the differences. It’s not that difference is bad, it’s just that we lose out if we don’t understand it.