All organisations have a culture. This can be positive or can be negative, but in reality it is probably a bit of both. It is easy to blame the ills of the organisation on ‘culture’ when in reality it is something we all have to take responsibility for. I do have some concerns that we are all striving to find a better culture and in doing that we will throw out the positive elements of what we currently have.
One of my biggest concerns with organisations is that those in charge like to find people who think in a very similar way. It means recruitment process are often weighted to finding people who think in the same way, often this is without anyone even recognising it. Once people are in an organisation the situation can become worse.
Being different to what is seen as ‘normal’ creates massive challenges for people. It means you are talking about one thing and people are hearing something else. It means you may want to take a new course of action but people want to remain with the usual approach. It means you may place more importance on things that others will ignore. There are three options:
- stay and try to fit in with the dominant culture
- leave and go somewhere you feel is a better fit
- dare to be different
The last one is my preferred position but it doesn’t come easy and means you need to have bags of resilience and a determination. It is never easy to take a different approach and you have to understand that there will be some incredibly frustrating days ahead. However, at the end you will feel a huge sense of achievement, and hopefully you will be able to start to impact on that dominant culture.
It is easy for organisations to say that they value diversity and want a workforce that will be challenging of the status quo. The harder part comes in showing people that they can be an individual in a large organisation, and it is hardest for those in a minority. Now it is time for us to dare to be different.