Building your business culture requires taking into consideration the homeostatic mechanisms that both reinforce and sustain existing norms. When these norms are counterproductive, if not in direct conflict, with what your customer requires then your products or services are likely to fall out of favor as well. In this case maintaining the status-quo is no longer an option. The challenge is supporting the business’ stakeholders to recognize existing beliefs, values, assumptions, and cultural artifacts are in cross purpose with the business’ long term goals.
Although there may remain several paths to the same destination this does not mean that each path is equivalent.
The path taken to reach your business’ long term goals, including building a business culture that supports innovation and creative engagement, does matter as it reflects the business’ core values.
The ends do not justify the means. Similarly, focusing on short term benefits despite long term customer driven objectives will not only damage your business’ reputation it will also make your services and products less relevant. Homeostatic business processes are those that help maintain equilibrium. When equilibrium maintains the status quo the business’ ability to leverage existing and future assets & opportunities decreases. Examples of ineffective homeostatic processes include the following:
- Delegation without follow-up, oversight, coaching, or accountability
- Silos and role boundaries that limit cross-departmental collaboration and the use of feedback mechanisms (if they exist) to increase transparency
- Poor documentation or steps taken, failures faced, and lessons learned
- Limited communication or avoidance of difficult conversations around contract or regulatory compliance areas, performance concerns, product/service specifications, etc.
These are just a few examples of homeostatic mechanisms that can drive your business into misalignment with your customers’ needs. The talent, wisdom, and passion that initially made your business successful will become outdated and possibly leave.
In most cases the mechanisms needed to maintain your business’ ability to continue to generate value and innovative solutions (including those that modify existing solutions to meet individualized customer needs), and retain the skills necessary to deliver these solutions, are one and the same = The creation of a business culture that values creativity, out of the box thinking, risk taking, feedback, informal leadership, and accountability through coaching and clear & iterative goal setting.
Don’t let the comfort afforded by focusing on short term gains cloud your judgment. You may be missing an opportunity that could help your business become more resilient, innovative, and engaging for its stakeholders.
How does your business work towards the co-creation of and business culture that supports innovation, creativity, and sustainable stakeholder engagement? Write your comments below!
Travis Barker, MPA GCPM
Katzenbach, J., Oelschlegel, C., & Thomas, J. (2016, February 15). 10 Principles of Organizational Culture. Retrieved March 16, 2016, from http://www.strategy-business.com/article/10-Principles-of-Organizational-Culture/
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