It’s not ok to blame poor organizational culture on national culture.
One of the great things about working in many different organizations, across many countries & regions, is that you get to see a lot of organizational culture up close and personal.
Whether in KL, Colombo or Frankfurt, the first morning of a scheduled training session is always interesting.
· Will all the Participants turn up? Will they turn up on time?
· Will Management turn up? If so, who – and how long will they stay?
· Does Management all sit together? Or do they integrate into the group at large?
· What does the energy feel like before the session begins?
· Do Participants talk to each other or do they stare at their mobile phones?
· Who is in charge? Is the ‘leader’ present?
· How does management speak to staff? As adults? Or like children?
What a Trainer or Consultant sees and experiences on that first morning of a session – before introductions have been made – should be the ‘best’ in organizational culture.
Because it’s not work.
Because Participants are there to learn and grow.
Because the gap or opportunity is so significant, an external Provider was asked to come in.
On a recent drizzly morning in _______ (fill in the country).
On a recent drizzly morning session in ________(fill in the country), half the Participants had not arrived by starting time.
To this, the HR Representative said, “Well you know we _________(fill in nationality here) like to sleep in.”
Or “we’re always late in ______(fill in country)” or “when it rains you know how it is in ______(fill in country).”
But over the years I’ve been conducting sessions, I find that what really matters is which organization you’re working with – not which country you happen to be in.
In countries which are notorious for staff absenteeism and tardiness, I’ve worked with organizations where people simply aren’t late and where organizational culture does not tolerate lateness.
In countries which have a reputation for staff timidity and reserve, I’ve worked with organizations where people laugh and chat and catch up with each other before the session begins.
In countries where traditional management hierarchy is revered and rarely questioned, I’ve worked with organizations where management and staff intermingle and work together.
Great organizational culture always ‘trumps’ national culture.
The way the Employees at Company X behave and carry themselves is quite different than the way Employees at Company Y behave and carry themselves – even though their offices are in the same building.
Blaming poor behavior on country or national dynamics is just lazy
When HR, or management, or leadership, blames poor behavior on country or national dynamics – then it’s unlikely that you’ll see a great culture at that organization.
The happenstance of being born in X country doesn’t guarantee a life of tardiness, timidity or futility.
Individuals always have a choice.
A choice to be on time, a choice to speak up and even – as the case merits – a choice to find employment with an organization with a better culture.
Thank you for reading!
daniel[email protected] / www.omnitouchinternational.com