Culture or just Cult

I am fascinated by organizations that decide to implement a culture.  I am sure it issues forth from the best of intentions, but beginning this way ensures it will end up a cult instead of culture.   If you doubt it, I have one question:  Is your company something people ‘belong to’ or ‘fit in to’?

Culture is something people ‘belong to’, they  know it through experience and it is hard to capture in a mission statement because it implies freedom and support to take risks to succeed and fail.

A cult (no matter how benign or altruistic) is something prescriptive that people try to ‘fit in to’; the focus is not freedom but about following the leader, staying in line, asking permission, and having the right answer.  (Yeah, grade school and perhaps most of our work experiences were more cult than culture.)

Culture is like fire.  It’s essential for survival, controlling it eventually puts it out and it destroys us if we don’t tend it.

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Dan Clark

Dan Clark

Principal of Bowline Consulting, process designer/fixer, wireless telecom veteran, addicted pick up soccer player, fly fisher, backpacker, beer brewer, guitar player, choir singer, recovering bag piper

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