"CULTURE EATS STRATEGY FOR BREAKFAST!" Peter Drucker

CULTURAL TRANSFORMATION

Google comes up with approximately 14 million hits for the term “crisis”. The term “opportunity” only generates a few hundred thousand. This disproportionate result is a clear indication of the deep-seated, fear-based behaviour pattern in our society, which is present in almost all facets of life. When something new happens in our working envirmement, the vast majority of staff and managers resort to old patterns of rejection, resistance and denial.

It’s known that in this state of mind, the ability to solve problems and think creatively drops significantly, worsening the situation. The downward spiral has us firmly in its grasp. Because the “familiar” denotes greater security in the short term, stressed people keep doing “more of the same,” – they try eaven harder and waste important time. However, what worked well in the past is no longer adequate for major changes, such as those currently being experienced exponentially.

Cultural change requires a change of the rules, with old ones sacrificed for the development of new ones. In a precarious situation, only something “different” will help to begin with, not the “old”. Letting go of a successful past can be a painful process requiring time, a luxury often lacking in a competitive environment. Unfortunately, the “other” and the “new” are by definition still unknown, which in turn enhances fear and worry, and depletes energy from the change projects.

It’s not just individual companies currently affected by this, but entire industries are noticing that they have reached the end of their options for linear growth. Unfortunately, just knowing about this vicious circle is not enough to escape the crisis. Just as knowing about China doesn’t make Europeans automatically Chinese, this situation requires new approaches, practices and skills. Dealing with uncertainty depends to a great extent on culture. The renewal of our corporate cultures is therefore the current greatest challenge.

In many corporates, culture is either accepted as a hereditary disease, or one attempts to whip the company into shape with interchangeable guiding principles and values displayed on colorful posters. It’s obvious that only a negligible fraction of potential is being used. At times of change, it’s up to management to question a company’s habits and corporate culture.

If we imagine culture as water in a river, it’s clear that the repetitive nature of the flow automatically creates grooves at the same point in the river bed. The river bed deepens with each repetition. Over the course of their existence, some rivers have carved deep valleys and even canyons into the landscape. The repetition of routines, processes and procedures will only provide benefits and security until the game is reversed. Immediately, the river bed forces the water into its hollow track.

The possibility of changing the behavior of the Colorado River is therefore merely theoretical. It’s forced to follow the course of the Grand Canyon and, figuratively speaking, to do “more of the same”! Successful companies inexorably dig their own Grand Canyon, in the same way as the Colorado River, with their stereotyped behaviour. Once the canyon reaches a certain depth, managers and employees are no longer in a position to scale the gorges, to instigate change, to explore a new direction. This is the point at which culture descends into decadence. 

The greatest civilizations and most successful companies have faded away, at the lowest point of the “Cultural Grand Canyon”, largely unnoticed by those who took the risk to do something different and new, at just the right time.

"Let's do Epic Shit!"

HOW TO GET STARTED

Take an offsite trip for a day workshop and become an executive in residence at the 1492 campus in the pictures Austrian mountain range, one hour drive from Salzburg. Our experienced team of subject matter experts co-create together with you a draft how to start, change or execute the best ideas. The essence of one day in residence will open an multiple number of insight. Don't hesitate contacting us 24/7/365.

The Collective Intelligence

1492 GmbH

Oberlupitsch 123
8992 Altaussee
Austria

1492 Venture Partners

Universitätsring 12/5D
1010 Vienna
Austria

New School of Business

1492 School of Business GmbH

Campus 123
8992 Altaussee 
Austria

1492 Berlin Office

Torstr. 89
10119 Berlin
Germany