Culture doesn’t matter, behaviours do

ndetails

There is increasing interest in “culture” as a driver of sustainable value growth. And creating a “high performance culture” has become the mantra for transforming buyouts to deliver alpha. But this misses the point. Culture remains too conceptual to be actionable by pragmatic entrepreneurial leaders.

To get actionable, one has to go beyond the buzzword and identify the underlying behaviours that in the end define a culture. In particular, what matters are behaviours that drive an organization’s collective agility – those that define how decisions are made and implemented.

Behavioural issues are the smoking gun. Finding those that are hindering the collective process of adaptation enables the identification of root causes down to the individual team level. Behaviours of knowledge-workers and how they interact, are shaped by diverse factors including their leader’s behaviour, the org structure, management processes, values, clarity of purpose, the employee’s personality and even the systems which enable or hinder efficient interactions in an organization.

To optimize behaviours and increase collective agility, you are only as good as your weakest link. And, since there are so many potential enablers or disablers of the desired behaviours, the challenge is pin-pointing specific dysfunctional behaviours in the context of enabling agile decision-making and implementation; and then careful selection of the right remedies with lowest cost and risk.

The great news is that behaviours can often be changed with simple measures that cost nothing. In particular, when leaders are made aware of the effect their behaviour has on the behaviours in their teams, they can change organizational behaviour by slightly modifying their own behaviour – for example, ask someone to document meeting minutes and note action items if this is not already being done. It’s really quite simple. However, transparency on the specific behaviours that drive the collective ability to make and execute decisions throughout the organization is an essential starting point. For over 18 years and working with hundreds of buy-outs, Humatica has codified the behaviours that drive the collective ability to adapt – thereby enabling pragmatic culture change that delivers alpha.

This article was originally published as the Humatica Corner in Real Deals magazine.

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