The Value of Culture
Two very separate articles that I read recently reminded me of how culture in organizations, either in corporations or in high schools, are a much more important determinant of long-term success than most other elements.
Friend and colleague Dominic Whittles referred me to this highly interesting posting by Zeus Jones. He writes about the major advantages of a web-based community enabled through the ever growing numbers of web applications and endless cost reduction of anything Internet. But he makes a strong argument for the importance of organizations that are connected through physical proximity, stronger formal commitment (=employment), and other intangible benefits of a traditional organization. It all comes down to one critical differentiator: Culture.
Successful organizations are using their culture as one, maybe even the most critical, competitive and strategic asset, especially in industries where talent is the domineering factor over high capital intensive investments. It is surprising that not more companies are spending more intellectual brain power and time against understanding and leveraging their culture.
The second article is from the WIRED magazine in which Daniel Roth writes about the attempts of improving the educational level in high schools. He quotes Alex Grodd who surprised recently a high minded conference of do-gooders that the critical factors of increasing the skills of high school students is to make “Nerds” cool. Every child in school wants to belong to the cool tribe, and as long as the athletic quarterback cliché dominates the standards of “coolness”, we are going to fight upstream against a children value system that values Brett Favre over Bill Gates. Our efforts should be stronger focused on making geeky and smart behavior cool. Maybe the government or well endowed educational organizations can fund a few
Both articles demonstrate the importance of culture and its intrinsic value and derived behavioral paradigms that either drives people and their organizations to success, or not.