Monthly Culture Inspiration: September 2016

Every month, I post three types of culture inspiration: a visual, a book, and an article to bookmark.

Visual: Wave of Change

Wendy Hirsch is an organizational consultant who "works with individual leaders and teams to achieve clarity – about a challenge, a solution, a goal, a plan – and to use that clarity to organize their efforts to execute for better performance." I came across her work when searching for compelling visuals about change management. I absolutely love her wave of change visual. When organizational change happens, we react to it (we're human). This wave visualizes how important that cycle of reaction, resistance, and feedback is. So often we pretend this reaction doesn't happen-- but it does, and can make or break successful change.

Wendy Hirsch's Infographics, Image Source:  Wendy Hirsch

Wendy Hirsch's Infographics, Image Source: Wendy Hirsch

Book: The Seventh Sense

I heard about this book from a great blog I subscribe to: A VC, written by Venture Capitalist Fred Wilson. After Fred's recommendation, I picked it up and couldn't put it down. Joshua Cooper Ramo touches upon so many thoughts and questions I've had about the future of our society-- but he articulates these future forces in a way that I've never seen before. Ramo argues that we are entering the "Age of Networks," which means we'll see more of: "Endless terror. Refugee waves. An unfixable global economy. Surprising election results. New billion-dollar fortunes. Miracle medical advances." 

“The Seventh Sense, in short, is the ability to look at any object and see the way in which it is changed by connection and networks.” Networks are changing the world and the implications of hyper-connectedness are changing the economy, politics, social relationships and just about everything else.

Ramo talks about what this means for the future of governments-- that right now, the majority of our new digital systems that governments are starting to use are being controlled by young, 20-something programmers, who are in their jobs because they are good programmers, not because they understand the moral implications behind what they are building! AND at the same time, many of our institutions are still being run by and "old-power" generation of leaders [white American men], who don't understand the power of networks and digitalization. They are being confronted by problems caused by networks (cyberaccidents, global warming, financial crises, terrorism)-- but they still see a world of risks that can be reduced to nouns: atomic bombs, fundamentalists, and derivatives. The sharpest edges of our problems stem from networks. A thought-provoking read.

Article to Bookmark: Culture is a Process, not a Series of Checkboxes

First of all, amazing article title, right? I want to print that line out and frame it. CultureAmp's Data Scientist Hyon S Chu borrows an anthropological definition of culture (a definition usually used for culture as art, language, and national traditions), and applies it to organizational culture: "Culture means the total body of tradition borne by a society and transmitted from generation to generation."

Chu then relates this to organizations: "If we look at organizational culture as a process, then it’s really about how we create and persist the behaviors that order the world and make it intelligible, not the values and standards themselves." I love this definition, and want to refer back to it!