When you want to transform your organisation, don’t mind the culture of that organisation too much; redirect your attention to its character instead.
Often, we talk about the culture of an organisation. But culture defines only how you act, not who you are or what you do. Therefore, you should focus on the more profound character of your organisation instead of its superficial culture.
Fit in or stand out
Culture tells you how to fit in, whereas character informs you how to stand out. Your character or the character of your organisation takes effort to build but will endure.
Character emerges from the consistent effort, and more than culture determines your true … well … character.
When you act inclusive as an organisation and thus do not exclude people with different genders, religions, colours or abilities, you fit in today’s culture.
However, when your organisation includes people from diverse genders, colours, abilities and religions, inclusion versus exclusion will never be an issue as your organisation is inclusive by character.
On a personal level, culture defines your identity, what religion, social class, nationality or ethnicity you belong to. That identity might also determine, to some extent, how you interact with other people, but it will never determine who you are and what your core beliefs are.
Whoever you are, you can always move from one country to another and adopt local habits and cultural expressions. Still, you will never become an administrative or managerial person in the one country where you were a creative entrepreneurial type in your country of origin. Your true nature will always remain.
Build character from the start
It is not different with your organisation when she expands to other countries. She can change, as an example, the way of sharing knowledge from a text-based to a more visual approach, but when sharing knowledge is a character of your organisation, that will not change.
When your organisation favours creativity and innovation more than managerial administration, it will always do so, no matter what industry or country you work in.
For this, the character is one of the pillars assessed in the EPIC Design Maturity Assessment. The innovative character of an organisation determines to what extent it can look from the outside in and look at its value and proposition from a problem perspective instead of from a solution perspective.
The innovative character also determines how agile and lean that organisation is, outstanding traits when your organisation needs to adapt to an ever faster-changing environment.