(Apologies - I pushed "publish" on a draft when I should have just saved it)
If your organization is a traditional top down and centralized organization then no matter what you do, you will not be able to change the corporate culture. The fault is not with your CEO but with YOU!
For you have been encultured all your life to obey and to be child like. Until YOU change, you need to live as a child.
That is quite a statement. Let me explain why - and by the way - I don't excuse myself. I was a slave for 40 years too.
Have another look at the stickmen above. Do you feel the feeling?
We first experience this feeling as a child at home when we are a child. Then we go to school and we really experience others using the power of their position over us. If we then go to work in a traditional organization, we feel it all over again. But by now this is our normal.
We think it normal to told in minute detail what to do. When to get up. Where to live. When to work. What to do at work. How to behave at work.
We think it normal to need others to help us do the simplest things. We blame others for things that happen to us. We seek approval. We get jealous when others get more. We fuss about work and life but accept that work comes first. We depend on others to get a pay cheque.
Do you? Did you?
Most people today are slaves or children and don't even know it. We think we are free but we are not and that includes the folks at the top. (Rousseau said this better than I).
Using the power of position, of the parent, of the teacher and of the boss keeps us neotonous. We remain childlike.
So if you are like this and your CEO installs all the Social Enterprise Software that money can buy, will this change anything?
Will you suddenly work your own hours? Will you choose what work to do or not? Will you rely on your real skills rather than on a resume? Will you mainly work at home or a place of your choosing? Will you avoid working with people that you don't like? Will you refuse to work for people you don't respect? Will you move to a place that you think is best for you? Will you now take time for yourself and your family?
Will you stop relying on IT, HR and all the other "Help" at work?
Of course not. You have never lived like this. What 9 year old really leaves home? You only know how to live as a child.
And all of this is true as well for the CEO and the executives. They have never known how to work in any other way. How can they suddenly behave differently? After all, they got to the top by knowing how this culture works. Why give that up?
They can't and wont. They are the know it all parents and teachers. They have to be right and they have to be obeyed.
But YOU can change. For some of us, this need to change grips us like a disease. You start to feel more and more uncomfortable in the old organization. And like a sick person, others notice too. As you grow up, the kids don't want you around any more. They help you leave. One day, you just can't stand it anymore. And no matter the financial issues, you have to go.
Others have change forced upon them. They are thrown out by a reorganization and find that they cannot get back to a place as a kid and so have to grow up.
Then the new grown ups look around and find that there is a bunch of other grown ups out there that we had not noticed so long as we were kids. Then we start to experience a weird thing: people can like us for whom we really are; that we can work with people that we love; that if we give up the shiny toys, we can have a much better life and earn and work less. That we can experience the satisfaction of being responsible for our own selves. That we can stop blaming. That we start getting real skills again.
When we can do all of this, then we start to live as grown ups.
Only you and I can change and then only when we are ready or forced into it.
Time to stop pretending that we can change Them.
In the next post we see that even if the impossible happens and a traditional organization does change its culture to adult, that that still will not be enough.