Write Down the Unwritten Rules of your Organization's Culture

Three Levels of Culture
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Gandhi Heryanto
Management Consultant, Indonesia

Write Down the Unwritten Rules of your Organization's Culture

According to Jocelyn Goldfein, "Culture is the behavior you reward and punish". In other words, behavior will shape culture. Behavior which is based on the unwritten rules is what will determine the course of the organization or the real culture of organization. Therefore, the unwritten rules can be equally powerful as the existing written rules or organizational mission statements.
To update our existing organization culture we need to assess the unwritten rules from time to time to see whether they are still in line with what is desired.
Karen Niovitich Davis, 2019 HBR shows how we should do that:
1. Write out the unwritten rules, whether what is in people's minds is still in accordance with what the organization wants.
2. Challenge your accepted norms. The organization's leader must periodically evaluate whether the unwritten rules still reflect what the leader has set.
3. Overcommunicate when the goal posts move. With the development of business it will require changes in behavior from people. People need to be notified of the change.
The importance to write and evaluate the unwritten rules is as explained by Steve Simpson, the author of Cracking the Corporate Culture Code, how research in Australia and New Zealand has shown a dangerous gap between the desired culture and the actual operating one.
Sources:
Razetti, G. "Are You Letting Unwritten Rules Shape Your Culture?", TLNT
Davis K.N. 2019. “Why You Should Write Down Your Company’s Unwritten Rules”. Harvard Business Review. October 2019.

 

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