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  • Writer's pictureMeghan Kirkland

What's below the Surface?

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช 4 years ago, I moved to Germany...


One small thing I like about living (where I live) is the greeting practice in doctor's waiting rooms, where everyone exchanges "hellos" upon arrival and "goodbyes" upon leaving, with everyone responding back.


Initially, it caught me off guard- not because it was unwelcome, but because it was just different from what I was used to.ย 


Yet, very quickly I found myself doing it without even thinking.


โ€ฆ so what's the link with workplace culture (you know this is where it's going ๐Ÿคฃ !)...?ย 


๐–๐ก๐ž๐ง ๐ฃ๐จ๐ข๐ง๐ข๐ง๐  ๐š ๐ง๐ž๐ฐ ๐œ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ญ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ž (๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐ค ๐จ๐ซ ๐จ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ฐ๐ข๐ฌ๐ž), ๐ฐ๐ž ๐ข๐ง๐ฌ๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ฅ๐จ๐จ๐ค ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐œ๐ฎ๐ž๐ฌ ๐จ๐ง ๐ฐ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐จ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐๐จ๐ข๐ง๐ - ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐ž๐ฑ๐š๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ž:


โžก Observing how people behave & speak to each other

โžก Noting whether meetings start punctually,

โžก Identifying decision-makers,

โžก Assessing the follow-through on commitments etc.


๐–๐žโ€™๐ซ๐ž ๐จ๐Ÿ๐ญ๐ž๐ง ๐ ๐ฎ๐ข๐๐ž๐ ๐›๐ฒ ๐ฎ๐ง๐ฐ๐ซ๐ข๐ญ๐ญ๐ž๐ง ๐ซ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ž๐ฌ, ๐›๐ž๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ข๐จu๐ซ๐ฌ, ๐š๐ง๐ ๐š๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ฌ๐ข๐ ๐ง๐ข๐Ÿ๐ข๐œ๐š๐ง๐ญ๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐๐ž๐Ÿ๐ข๐ง๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐œ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ญ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ž ๐š๐ซ๐จ๐ฎ๐ง๐ ๐ฎ๐ฌ.


๐๐ฎ๐ญ, ๐ฐ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐๐จ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ข๐ญ ๐ฆ๐ž๐š๐ง ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐ญ๐ก๐จ๐ฌ๐ž ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ฎ๐ฌ ๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐ค๐ข๐ง๐  ๐จ๐ง ๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐ค๐ฉ๐ฅ๐š๐œ๐ž ๐œ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ญ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ž?


1๏ธโƒฃ ๐†๐จ ๐›๐ž๐ฒ๐จ๐ง๐ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ซ๐Ÿ๐š๐œ๐ž: Look through official statements to understand the real, lived experience of the organisation's culture. The essence of an organisation's culture lies in what's practiced, not just what's preached.




2๏ธโƒฃ ๐‘๐ž๐š๐ฅ๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ ๐œ๐ก๐ž๐œ๐ค ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐œ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ซ๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐œ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ญ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ž: Itโ€™s crucial to understand a company's actual behaviors rather than relying on idealised expectations. Observing and documenting real actions and routines provides a true picture of the existing culture.

3๏ธโƒฃ ๐€๐๐๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ซ๐š๐ง๐ฌ๐ฉ๐š๐ซ๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ฒ ๐ ๐š๐ฉ๐ฌ: Where there are discrepancies between the stated culture and actual practices, transparency is often missing. Addressing these gaps is essential for building an authentic culture. My example is positive, but where there is a disconnect between what is said and done, trust can really be eroded.ย 

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