Company Culture? An experiment with value stories from Management 3.0

Company Culture? An experiment with value stories from Management 3.0

I am constantly facing different (mostly IT) companies with a huge variety of creative workers (I like the term better than knowledge worker). How can you align all those bright people to a common vision? Is there some thing like a common understanding of “the organisation”? Do those people just form a loosely coupled system that works within the boundaries of an organisational structure or is there a common culture? How can you establish a culture? Recently, I’ve got some tools at hand to play around with those questions thanks to the Management 3.0 class.

What I have tried in my own organisation is the “big value list” and value stories. I have put the following list on the kitchen fridge with the request to give three votes on values that people perceive as their own and as well as the company values.

It took some time until people started to vote, but after two months I took it off and created a tag cloud of those terms with votes (bigger font size means more votes). The tag cloud is now hanging around on the fridge.

It looks like this:

Interestingly, there is also an official culture statement that was written somewhere in a document. I guess nobody really knows it or has read it once and then forgotten, but I will proof that assumption in one of the next location wide meetings.

My next step is now to try to find value stories for the official company culture and values we defined within the Austrian subsidiary, because my strong believe is that most people have an understanding or at least a feeling of the company’s values and culture but it might differ quite a lot from person to person.

Value stories are a good way to fill those value statements with life and share the culture among employees. I will probably do a “culture breakfast” taking into account the famous quote “culture eats strategy for breakfast” by Peter Drucker where people can share value stories.

How do you live your company values? Do people feel that is something abstract and written down by some management guys or is it important and essential to establish the culture? Please share your thoughts.