Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Drake III

I am shocked that Bob, the new CEO at Drake has so quickly turned to simplistic solutions and staff abuse. He seems to think that hiring his old coworkers and driving them 70 hours/week is the path to a new kind of culture. He is also disregarding the advice of his Personnel Director, a woman he hired specifically because she had experience creating a culture that he wanted. Bob has no experience building a culture. But he is certain that his off-the-cuff ideas will work. If people just work all the time and eat pizza and beer at the office, then the good culture will emerge. It is like growing yogurt or yeast. Bob thinks that work, pizza, and beer are the major ingredients. Those will create magic and something new and different will emerge.

Culture is a fascinating topic that we have explored in Schein and Katz. When studying it from the perspective of groups you begin to see that it comes from the many, not the one person. It takes and entire village to make a culture, but just one village idiot at the top to destroy it. Bob is the idiot at the top. He is doing to create a financially successful company. He is going to talk about how their culture is different. He is going to believe that his experience at the top is typical of the workers’ experiences at the bottom. Founders are always pleased with the companies they sit atop. They think that their creations are unique and different. But, in most cases, from the inside, the company is exactly like a thousand others. This is not because the founder does not want them to be different. I don’t think it is even because the founder has intentionally sacrificed culture for profits. Usually, the company is the same because it grew in the same business, government, and social environment that a thousand others grew in. The company absorbs its culture from that of the city and the employees. But also from the requirements for government reporting and meeting the needs of stakeholders like VC’s or stockholders. There are not an infinite number of ways to accomplish many of these tasks. So, the founders have to add a few small ingredients that can make a difference. They also have to withhold some ingredients that can ruin the recipe. Perhaps withholding ingredients is more important than what you put in.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

awsome picture and sooo creative

11/25/2005 6:58 PM  

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