Much has been written about cultural change and how much effort – and time – it takes. If we think of culture as a sort of aggregate of the behaviours of a group of people and the values they (claim to) espouse and live by, you can see why the case for the argument is plausible: behavioural change takes longer than process or systems change, as it is human beings that must be changed rather than flow charts, the screens of an interface, or the internal logic of a computer program. None of these things actively resist change, offer an opinion on its impact or offer an emotional or psychological response.
There’s an interesting argument against Artificial Intelligence there somewhere, and one that prompts flashbacks to Hal, the troublesome computer in Space Odyssey. Hal has the binary equivalent of a breakdown when it tries to faithfully complete conflicting tasks, which should provide some kind of lesson to process designers everywhere … In reality – and I nearly typed ‘of course’, but then again … – we are neither controlled by our computers nor driven by icy logic. Well, most of us anyway. (For some disturbing surveys about sociopathy in business, read an earlier blog. Not that we’re excusing anyone …)
When your grandmother – or any other adult demonstrating their infinitely superior wisdom for a moment – told you with an air of conspiring, “Doesn’t ask doesn’t get”, they had a good point. Apart from making a positive change from “Mustn’t grumble”, four well-chosen words communicated more than many a longer screed. Or, more accurately, a nebulous, windy cloud of a question.
There’s a fascinating post at Mark Gould’s Enlightened Tradition blog, Asking better questions, getting better insight, that ponders knowledge as something subject to push and pull. We’ve got quite good at push, albeit in an unfocused sort of way. If we live in an attention economy, it’s least partly because the need to pay attention and to pick your way through tidal waves of ‘information’ is becoming a modern survival technique. And export knowledge abounds, fizzing between the ears of the knowledge workers around us and the whirring on the hard-drives and the cloud stores of our latest gizmos.
But somehow this abundance of know-how manages to co-exist with equally cloudy stores of ignorance. As Mark Gould puts it:
Frequently, however, I see people asking quite open-ended questions in the hope that something useful will pop up. I suspect that what actually happens is that those with the knowledge to assist don’t answer precisely because the question is too vague.” Continue reading
Two counter-intuitive postings from around the wider world of the web, both on aspects of organisational culture and its impact on satisfaction, performance and sustainability … and on the things we chose not just to believe but to cherish. (For a full list of our favourite items, pointing you to gems of wisdom from the web, see our Crackers page).
- The Second Biggest Lie in HR: All “A” Players is Possible Outcome… – The HR Capitalist looks at the prisons that HR practitioners can create for themselves, including waiting for the ‘perfect’ ‘A Player’ candidate when the job requires someone more … er, prosaic. As one commenting visitor pointed out, “Personally for my company I think I want the ditch diggers – coders, hackers, outre graphic designers, deep level video player designers. Not glamorous roles but core to my success.” So do divas belong on the payroll or the CD player?
- Business Culture: Denmark vs USA vs Guatemala: The Chief Happiness Officer (we’re guessing self-proclaimed, although we’re admiring the job title) looks at differences in four aspects of working cultures and attitudes around the world (Power Distance Index, Individualism, Masculinity, and Uncertainty Avoidance Index, as evolved and refined by Dutch sociologist Geert Hofstede) before drawing a few conclusion on the ideal balance. The CHO wonders how far Hofstede’s work illuminates the prominent positions Scandinavian countries traditionally enjoy in international surveys of job satisfaction, while his readers wonder how far these stereotypes hold up in the light of experience (perhaps slightly missing the CHO’s point?). In the meantime, I’m wondering how many jobs in Copenhagen don’t demand a working knowledge of Danish …
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