Creating Cultural Solidarity

The idea that centralization creates strength is a long-lived theme in our culture. This idea informs our value structure and in turn our leadership decisions and behavior, yet there is very little examination that this assumption is best. The lens of interpretation that is used when prioritizing any endeavor is biased towards the ends of supporting people in leadership. 

And this is one explanation about why Lean is so widely adopted. Leaders can easily see that there is meaning from a Lean principles-based perspective yet there are plenty of artifacts and behaviors available enough for the unexamined adoption to be resilient. Improvement is the booby-prize of Lean but can also be done by through a variety of means.

The test is congruency between the various layers of your onion of culture. Analyze it in terms of deeper and deeper layers. On the surface, as yourself, what are the tools and methods that you employ? One layer deeper; how do those artifacts and behaviors fit the values that you espouse? If you don’t speak about your values there is obviously a gap in your Lean. Then at your core, guess at the unconscious assumptions that the value structure is based upon. Is there true respect for humanity? Are you assuming people would lie, cheat and steal if given the chance? Are they not smart enough to succeed without help?

To examine your onion of culture write about all these layers in list format next to your values and your tools/methods. Use this worksheet.

Are you feeling stress in a group? Universally, group incongruence is the result of nonempathic communications. To resolve this work the group through an exercise examining these assumptions, values and practices. It is an extremely quick route to solidarity. When underlying assumptions can be shared empathic communication is necessitated.

adapted from Organizational Culture and Leadership, Ed Schein, 2016