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April 04, 2008


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Sara Bocaneanu

Everyone seems to take it for a given that collaborative culture is important, is the most important factor. But what if culture does not even really exist? What if it is just invented to cover for other issues? Issues that would be much more difficult to talk about, more embarrassing? What if culture is invoked simply as a barrier to learning?

After all, it is common knowledge that it is almost impossible to change culture. If we can just 'blame the culture', then the undiscussables remain undiscussed, the trust issues remain unsolved, and common sense loses out.


I've read the report, and am pleased that you have picked up on this cultural point. A seemingly similar dismissive reference to culture appeared recently in a post (http://www.melcrumblog.com/2008/04/pay-attention-t.html) from Melcrum, which concluded: "Having the right company culture that encourages openness and participation could be all you need to reduce your amount of crash n burners and disengageds."

All you need?

Not sure if it is possible to have no culture. Corporate culture is a living, changing system which operates at different levels. It is easy to make changes to the most superficial level, but such changes can be purely cosmetic and short-lived. At the deepest level, you'll find the core values of a culture. These elements can exist to deliver a strong negative culture, as well a neutral or positive culture. To achieve lasting change to a culture - be it in a company or in society - it is essential to understand and work with core values. No short cuts.


Serendipity strikes. I backed into this 'old' post via a 'new' post and yours is far more relevant than the other one.

How appropriate that you have in print 'way back' part of an analogy that struck me today. I had drawn the association to companies 'claiming' they're doing something 2.0 related when in many cases they're not doing much more than creating "internal Wikipedias" (as I experienced in a very large 'consulting' company -- where the 'thought leaders' were so far behind the curve...but that's another story). What I realized based on a 'reminder via experience' today, is that if they're going to do something simple, they might as well do something of REAL value like create an internal Snopes -- to denounce the many cultural lores that are randomly accepted as fact but have never been validated/verified.

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