Culture is Everything

“The thing I have learned at IBM is that culture is everything.”
Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. former CEO IBM

Too often I have worked with people who have joined a new organization only to crash and burn. Too often a complete and total disregard for organizational culture has played a part in this unfortunate scenario.

Here is what NOT to do:

  • Assume that because you were hired, you have something much more special than the people already employed at your new place of business
  • Complain about the way they do things, call them outdated or wrong
  • Talk loudly about how the way you used to do it at company X and how it was so much better
  • Crash and burn

Organizational culture is like the personality of that company or organization. You have a personality, so does your organization. How many people are you willing to change your personality for? I bet the list is not very long.

So why would you expect an entire organization to change their way of being just because you have arrived on the scene?

Does this mean that you cannot change organizational culture? Of course not!

Consider trying this approach:

  • Assume that you are joining a team who can teach you how to be successful at your new company
  • Take time to get to know the people and how they do things and why they do things
  • Try it their way
  • Be respectful about their way, do not call them outdated or wrong
  • Build relationships and gain trust
  • Begin to make suggestions for improvements
  • Do not crash and burn

Of course the above was written based on experiences from various organizations and their cultures. This means that you really want to understand your new culture and how changes can be successfully introduced, and then you can write your own steps to success.