Today was the day of culture, one when we looked at how cultures can influence an organization. We studied the cases of IBM and WWF.
Some of the nuggets..
Culture is inherited wisdom, allows you to stand on the shoulder of the giant, but be careful to keep it alive!

The best way to change culture may not be the most direct one….

Small things matter, YOU can start to change, you do not have to wait for some superior force to come. You can make a difference when there are things you believe in.

Individuals bring with them a little piece of each culture they come into contact with. Individuals are a unique combination of experiences.

Lou Gerstner, CEO IBM once said: ” I came to see in my time at IBM that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game it IS the game. In the end, and organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value. Vision, strategy, marketing, financial system can set you on the right path and can carry you for a while. But no enterprise will succeed over the long haul if those elements aren’t part of its DNA”

So the question begs “Is strong culture good for performance?” …in 1982 Tom Peter in “In Search of Excellence” said a definite YES! “The excellent companies are marked by very strong cultures, so strong that you either buy into their norms or get out”
In 1992, the same Tom Peters in “Liberation Management” tried to convince us absolutely NO! “It is the remarkable difference of character among the so-called ‘subordinate’ units that allow the parent to thrive…..”

and how about now? after 2 and half decades of management research we finally came to the conclusion that “YES and NO”….. this leaves me wonder about management scholars and their self preservation….but more than that this makes me think that high performance comes from sharing a SMALL SET of “living” core cultural elements letting everything else vary as needed.

Today was a day when I appreciated once more the value of diversity!