Sharing half a thought today with a sketch i drew earlier for the Culture Explorer programme that i’m currently prototyping. I’m using this to consider three questions: what ‘Agility’ means (and whether it’s about individual behaviours aggregated up to culture – or something given to us by culture), ‘Fracture’ in terms of the edges of systems (even highly culturally coherent systems have hard edges – you can always be excluded for something), and ‘Failure’ (considering the relationship between agility and failure, and the cultural realities (and costs) of failure.
I’m pretty sure this session is not right yet, but neither is it entirely wrong – i think where i want to end up is with the group identifying tensions – what amplifies or constraints the other – and how much is individual versus system.
I suspect the answer to pretty much any question i pose here will be ‘both’ – it’s both ‘self’ and ‘system’, but that’s to duck the issue: if we think ‘system’ plays a role, if ‘culture’ plays a role, then we have to believe that ‘culture’ is real (as opposed to an abstract narrative). But if it’s a more granular and pragmatic view, that the ‘self’ is all that really matters (and the individual decisions we make in the moment, and how they sit alongside those of others), then Organisational culture (and all the efforts that leadership groups put into it) is largely pointless – or at the very best provides simply a scaffolding for action.
I can tell this is relatively incoherent as i write it: you’ll have to forgive me, the baby kept me up half the night. So sharing this as part of #WorkingOutLoud. I have plenty of work on culture that is solid and confident: in this programme i’m testing out new ideas, new language and thought, in line with my broader development of ideas.