What Unifies a Diverse Organisation?

With the world shrinking and organisations expanding beyond geographical, language and cultural boundaries, ONE becomes a popular buzzword. The questions we get asked are – How do we still remain one organisation? or How do we ensure that our customers get the same experience in New Delhi, New York and New Zealand? or How do we ensure that our employees experience the organisation similarly? The most simple and most complex answer to these questions is CULTURE

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Organizational culture is the collective behavior of humans that are part of an organization. It is also formed by the organization values, visions, norms, systems, processes, and symbols, it includes beliefs and habits. Organizational culture affects the way people and groups interact with each other, with clients, and with stakeholders. Some consider culture the glue that holds everyone together. Others compare it to a compass providing direction. It creates a common ground for team members. It reduces uncertainty by offering a language for interpreting events and issues. It provides a sense of order so that all team members know what is expected.

It contributes to a sense of continuity and unity. And it offers a vision around which a company can rally. Culture is one of those things in an organisation that is referred to numerous times as a cause of either success or failure. Positive or negative consequences are attributed to it. Yet, concrete steps to address this all important culture are REALLY understood by just a few organisations.

So can culture be visible and tangible? Can it be changed through “nuts and bolts” actions? YES! …and here are a few things we have done to use culture to help organisations Unify, Transition, Scale and Grow, Integrate and Perform (See Figure).

None of the these build or strength a unified culture by itself; it takes time, effort and commitment. Depending on the stage of evolution of the organisation, the Culture journey may start from process, shared history or leadership. The journey however, in our experience always includes Values. Values which are reflected in everything that the organisation does, all that is visible and all that is experienced.

• Does your organisations do enough to use culture and values to drive their vision and goals?
• Do organisation values reflect in your processes for managing performance and people?
• Do your employees believe in your organisation’s values?