Are You an Organizational Culture Misfit?

Are You an Organizational Culture Misfit?

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Chuck Mackey helps organizations, teams and Individuals humanize technology. He is currently working with Vantage Agora as a Management Consultant.

Read more to find out what Chuck Mackey has to say about Organizational Culture Misfit.

Work performance as a result of organizational culture is directly tied to how closely you fit into that culture. Culture manifests in your mind as a set of shared values and operating norms that form and inform your interactions with your boss, fellow employees, clients and customers, supply chain, and the various constituents you come in contact with as a result of your job.

The ‘mind’ culture is strengthened by the stories, legends and myths about your organization, the beliefs and values demonstrated, and the way the organization promotes, celebrates, and behaves on a daily basis within its culture.

The corporate language — the way it communicates, the specialized words and phrases it uses — identifies you as a “fitting in.” Finally, each organization’s culture applies certain tangible artifacts; things like facility style and layout, collateral material, website, and other symbols, are expressions of the core meaning, beliefs and values that represent the organization to the viewing world.

Sometimes we are attracted to an organization’s culture and really want to be there. We may, however, find the following to be true:

1. The ‘tangible’ culture does not truly represent the ‘mind’ culture.

2. Our ‘mind expectations’ are out of sync with the organization’s culture.

3. The organizational culture is changing and we’re not.

4. We’re changing and the organization’s culture no longer meets our mind culture.

Often, we believe that being a cultural misfit “happens to us” due to a merger/acquisition, down-sizing, or condition. Yet, if we were really immersed in the culture and truly ‘lived it’ on a daily basis, wouldn’t we have a clearer view of what would be happening? We’d know how to adjust.

The fact is, being a cultural misfit is something we do to ourselves. I’m not suggesting that we are never a victim of circumstance beyond our control. What I am suggesting is that in order to be more open to an organization’s culture and to fit in, we need to view the world from a “cause” vector versus an “effect” vector. Too often, humans want to believe that circumstances are effecting them. In reality, we cause our circumstances, no?

One pattern of thinking that gets us into trouble is called “Cause/Effect Thinking.” Engaging in this type of thinking assumes that “what ever happens to us stems from a linear, sequential cause-effect dynamic.”

In reality, work — and life — just doesn’t happen that way. Most of our interactions occur through a network of complex, multidimensional factors. When we begin to feel a cultural disconnect, it is rarely due to a single, isolated event or person. More likely, there are multiple factors at play. Unfortunately, we don’t ever think of us as the cause; only as being effected by “circumstances beyond our control.” As such, we tend to “blame the organization” as the cause. We fail to see how we are culpable.

How can we avoid being cast as a misfit? One way is to ask for help when we see things shifting. Failing to ask for help may just be the #1 reason why “misfit” happens. Procrastination is another reason. The inability to admit we are wrong is certainly high on the list.

So, a deeper appreciation of culture and how it impacts (effects) you, requires substantially more insight into how we impact (cause) an organization’s culture to manifest itself in truth and action. Stop looking to blame and starting controlling your involvement in the organization’s culture.


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