Organizational Cultures

company-culture-killers-300x285What is an organizational culture?

By nature, a culture is supposed to be driven by a community and should be progressive. Now an organization’s culture should be able to do just that; and so the essential aspects are – leaders with their vision and goals; whether team-members are clear and aligned to them; and what is done about developing knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSA).

This phenomena of an organizational culture is as difficult as simple it is to express it. Why? No prizes for guessing as a human mind continues to be the most complicated scheme of things!

In my over 11 years of experience with Organizational Development, Talent Management and Learning & Development, I have come across so many different kinds of organizational cultures that I felt it’s time to reflect and share my experiences.

“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.” – Margaret Wheatley

So while the table below reflects my overall experiences but this study too by Gallup has been useful – click here to read.


The table above is more about established organizations with at least 1000 employees at one location and does not echo a culture of a start-up. Next post will be about culture at a start-up!

It is really a delight to work with a culture like that of Org A because of the strong and able leadership which is sure of itself while it stays democratic. Learning and executing runs in the veins of the team-members; and cut- throat competition and gossips related to compensation and incentive schemes are alien stuff there!

Would like to know more from you about your organization and whether you would like to change anything about it.

Do leave a comment or drop me a mail at



Variables of Engagement

Some of our fondest memories of childhood are the summer vacations – the visits to relatives or just general tourism. We were free to do what we like (well… almost free), no stress, lots of play and this play wasn’t just fun, there was a lot of discovering and inventing involved.

Fast-forward a few years and we are adults, working in an organization, still loving vacations as much as we did earlier. After all, vacations are synonymous with exploring, doing, walking, adventure, eating – in summary – a lot of stimulation to our senses. Our concentration levels, our energies, our connection with environment is at all time high.

Once back at workplace, everything is routine (and mostly a drag) again.

No, I don’t mean to blaspheme here; but that’s what some studies say, such as:

– Worldwide, only 13% of employees are “engaged” at work. – Gallup 2013
– The traditional definition of engagement — the willingness of employees to voluntarily expend extra effort — is no longer sufficient to fuel the highest levels of performance. – Towers Watson, Global Work Force Study in 2012

I would say that engagement is equal to stimulation of senses; when our natural faculties, such as Mental, Emotional, Physical and Spiritual (MEPS), are involved and throbbing.

It is safe to say – that an organization is no amusement park but a place to work and achieve exponential goals OR that it is ever difficult now to engage people due to rapidly advancing technology and sources of mind-distraction.

But if you look back at the reasons why we enjoy those vacations that not only pique our interest but also absorb us are that they are adventurous and exploratory. There is so much random learning involved and it’s all such fun – as long as you don’t feel looted by the locals of course!

So a few checks to ensure at work-place are:

– Have creative forums for learning – debates, play-sessions, role-plays, healthy-challenges etc

– Learn how to give and receive feedback – different strokes for different folks!

– Have regular, disciplined breaks – a power-nap after lunch is an accepted phenomenon now

– Avoid carrying work to home – mind gets baked with stress when cluttered and over-loaded

There could be many more ways; keep experimenting with MEPS!

Suggested Reading – World Wide Employee Engagement – by Gallup

Well Designed Learning – Part 2

Well Designed Learning - Part 2

You take your kid out for a party and at the dinner table, a lady guides your kid how to fold a napkin, something you haven’t taught yet. You just watch how she tutors; and how the kid learns and practice. What will you do next time your kid’s at the dining-table – tick as many:

1 remind about the session with that lady?
2 most likely, you would’ve forgotten about that session?
3 make fun or ignore if the kid’s trying to replicate that session’s learning?
4 appreciate if the kid’s trying to replicate that session’s learning?

You see, it’s about the nourishment you provide to get the desired behavior from an individual. Just enrolling them (not only kids but also adults) to a learning event is not enough. It has to be supported with some chain-reactions aka follow-ups and reminders as you not only save the efforts made earlier but you also discover more.

PS: options 2 & 3 above are bad choices.

Some ways to embed the learning are:

1 Ask the learner to share the lessons in a forum – can be documented too.
2 Give project based assignments – encourage creativity here.
3 Design assessments – spread these over a period of time.
4 Ask the learner to share more ideas – to upgrade existing content or for next steps.

And most importantly, initiate competency based learning designs, otherwise like Cheshire Cat said to Alice, “if you don’t have a destination to reach to, all the roads are the same”!