In UX magazine Cynthia Thomas explains the importance of culture, defines and offers a series of triggers that every culture has for perpetual re-design. What is surprising is the fear that the phrase culture-change induces in an organization. Can you do that? yes. Should you do that? Cynthia has answers.
How about your own culture?
1) Are opportunities, expectations, and performance reviews measured against ideas about the future? or
2) Are opportunities, expectations, and performance reviews measured against nostalgia? or
3) Are opportunities, expectations, and performance reviews, actually measurable?
…Organizations need to design their internal culture to live the tenets of good experience every day. The Nestlé employee wouldn’t have interacted with customers negatively had the culture within Nestlé not propegated such sentiments. In the case of Gap’s rebranding, inviting consumer feedback into a decision as monumental as changing a reknowned logo wouldn’t have failed as miserably for Gap if it were not executed as an afterthought in their decision-making process.
These events provided a window into these companies’ worlds, and exposed how they live on the inside. Nestlé didn’t fail at social media, they failed at fundamentally respecting their customer. And Gap didn’t mess up a logo change, they highlighted just how unpracticed they are at utilizing customer feedback, an indication that customer involvement is not an everyday occurance for them. The cultures these companies have designed simply aren’t supporting the experimental tactics they are attempting to implement.
Can a Culture Be Designed?
The short answer: yes. This is the definition of culture:
The attitudes and behavior that are characteristic of a particular social group or organization.[*]
Attitudes and behaviors are constantly being shaped within organizations. It’s the reason there are performance reviews, processes and procedures, and role expectations. If business leaders want to foster a specific culture, then all opportunities, activities, and expectations of their staffs will be measured against the success of exemplifying that culture. To design is to plan something for a specific role, purpose, or effect—to work out its form. Company culture is designed in every conversation, and in every bit of feedback and evaluation criteria. It’s possible to control the corporate atmosphere by choosing which behaviors to support and encourage, and which to discourage. Cultures grow organically, but they are actively designed.