Michael LoebbertMichael Loebbert Management as Cultural Work

06/09/2008 by Michael Loebbert

In most management models today, there is a “box” for culture. Management is (also) cultural work. This seems self-evident. Probably too obvious to make a difference in practice. So what are the specific challenges?

1. Alignment, the fit of strategy and culture
The implementation of strategies comes to a halt or fails, if the cultural patterns and values don’t change likewise. “Customer orientation”, “flexible organization”, “innovation” needs the achievement of values such as “appreciation”, “self-responsibility” and “researchers spirit.” Culture work is concuring strategic development and cultural change.

2. Managing products and services as cultural contributions
Products and services contribute with specific cultural characteristics to find solutions for and with the customer. Consumer goods must fit to the cultural patterns of customers to be used to. They open up new attractive possibilities for living. Valuable services offer new and attractive cultural responses for the design of processes and customer relationships in the organization (transport, health services, IT sourcing), which are connected closely with changing cultural values and ideas.

3. Powerful change culture
Most changes constantly in our current organizations. New products and services, new processes and structures, new people. A culture that has learned to work constructively with change receives not only an invaluable competitive advantage, but also the only regulation variable, from which one may expect stability.

4. Culture and leadership
The pragmatic concept of “leadership” reflects the close relationship between culture and effective leadership. Companies as complex systems are steerable less and less through direct interventions, command and control. You need a large degree of self-control to answer the specific challenges of your clients. Only culture provides the patterns and the values for common actions.

5. Corporate culture
Corporate culture” I understand (only) the specific characteristics relevant for success and that make a difference to competitors, such as how to attract qualified staff and sell products, bringing innovations. Management has to respect and to develop these particularly characteristics relevant for performance.

About the author:
Dr. Michael Loebbert is Coach and Management Consultant and author of the montly publication “Change Management Short Cut“.

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