Culture as you leave is not as important as culture as you stay

Or try and get some things done.

Read a great post by a former colleague, Ron Thomas, on culture and its importance to employee morale.  

I agree with virtually everything Ron says, but as I read the article, what was going through my head was that culture is responsible for success or failure of virtually any corporate initiative.  It’s not that culture is some ubiquitous thing that’s out there, it’s something that impacts what we do day in and day out.  And it is the accumulation of these daily interactions that cause someone to become disenchanted. 

As we undertake any new project, or participate in any new initiative, or attempt to implement a change, the biggest obstacle is not money, or timeline, or lack of executive support, it’s culture.  At each point, we have to overcome some aspect of the entrenched culture, and the greater the divide between what’s attempted and what’s entrenched, the more effort has to be expanded to overcome just the sheer resistance.  All of that on top of the regular challenges associated with implementation of anything new.

Because of this constant resistance and run in with the culture, projects either get abandoned, or have to be re-shaped, burring them under a mound of change requests, eventually spinning out of control.

When that happens, that’s when we, as IT professionals, get frustrated and lose interest, thereby becoming part of the entrenched culture and the problem it presents.  Either that, or we leave with a strong desire to publish an op-ed in the New York Times like the one Greg Smith did.

At various points in the day, I find it to be a conscious effort to constantly check in and figure out if what I’m doing is in line with the culture I want to have on my team, or falling into the line of thinking and working as my predecessors did.  It is a daily struggle, but I also find that it is definitely possible to resist the overall pressure of the external culture, and create the atmosphere I’m proud, even if it’s just within my team.  The hope is that at some point, it will rob off on others around us.


About Vadim

I'd like to have something really impressive to say here, but it's just not in the cards. Maybe later.
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