Have you ever heard someone say “Why can’t everyone just get on and work together”?

The real problem here is not understanding the different cultures involved especially in the corporate world.

Some organizations arrange team building workshops or engage speakers, such as myself, to help people understand that they are stronger if they work together as a team and support each other. But, and this is the problem we face more and more today, it’s not quite as easy as that.

What does the word culture mean? ‘ knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.’ Taken from Wikipedia. 

In some cases, especially in the business world it has to be accepted that not everyone will be able to work together or understand each other, but that does not mean the workplace suffers. Being able to do something in the way we know, believe in or prefer may mean the work is completed, on time, but not necessarily by following the structure that has been determined ahead of time. This should not cause disruption in the work place as long as the work is satisfactory. This is where trust comes in. Obviously feedback and communication have to be top priority here.

I am not suggesting that people should be working for themselves, versus working with and for each other. In the large organizations there can be a tendency to have those people who think if they do the work first, better, and come up with the great ideas, it’s all about them. Team ethics and goals are first and foremost the ideal of most organizations, it’s not about stabbing each other in the back to get to the top first.

Some organizations think it’s a good idea to have more than one marketing team, who can work on their own ideas, strategies, goals. Again I point out that this can cause a culture of mistrust, no collaboration at all, and a race to get to the top, to get the better bonus for work done.

A great manager knows its their job to promote, assist, mentor their team members. It’s not about telling the team what to do, how to do it, when to do it. These people were hired for their expertise, not to be hamsters running around a wheel, turning into robots over time.

Mediation is a great way to go, but in some cases a lot of time and money is spent trying to bend people into a thought process or culture that is not acceptable or comfortable for them and the situation does not alter. By accepting someones culture or way of thinking they are able to get  the work done and we arrive at the same place ultimately with less stress and disruption.

Company culture today is often displayed as a happy workplace, where playtime is nurtured and people work 24/7, happy, contented and oblivious to the outside world. Obviously if this works go for it, but not all workplaces can be structured around the new, shiny, let’s do it now, World we have been introduced to in the past 10 years.

Culture in the workplaces is made up of many things, and once we understand it’s not about change for the sake of change, that will be the point where we know we have achieved our desired outcome.

Your comments are always welcome.