Saturday, June 07, 2014

Cultural Elitism

Building a great company culture isn’t one-man job. To a good extent I think such success is accidental too.. happens when a right blend of people meet together caring each other as well as the company they work for. 

Although there is no correct definition for a great culture, you will surely know when you reach it. But the question is.. a great culture - once built, will it self sustain? I originally thought it could.. but now years after I tend to question myself! 

Here's why.. as we go, we create an in-group of people who were a part of building that great culture originally. Bonding within this in-group is very close and solid.. they know each other personally.. they can fight rigorously but still they will remain friends no matter how hard they fought. This is all great and rewarding, but keep reading to find out the catch: 

Unknowingly with time, we may build a shield around this in-group, making it difficult for social penetrations from outside. This causes the new employees to feel isolated and peripheral in the total system. Specially the new employees with strong personalities will find it even harder to blend.

Often the core in-group acts defensively (with good intension of protecting the culture) to such external personalities where the new employee perceiving such resistance as bureaucracy in the system. We eventually move away from the values where we accommodated new comers to try things out, make mistakes, bring change or challenge established mechanisms. We start reacting in means of arrogance not by the means of assisting the new comers to learn and adapt. When this happens, we are no longer the same “accommodating" culture where every new employee would dream to have.

Now we may call this ‘cultural elitism’ where we become victims of our own success! 

“Sometimes you hit a point where you either change or self destruct.” 
― Sam Stevens