Working the Cultural Network
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Everyone in a strong
culture has a job - but he also has another job. This
"other job" won't get stamped on a business card, but that
doesn't matter. In many ways this work is far more important
that budgets, memos, policies, and five year plan. Spies,
story-tellers, priest, whisperers, cabals -these people form the
hidden hierarchy which looks considerably different from
organization chart. In the hidden hierarchy, a lowly junior
employee doubles as a highly influential spy. Or an
"unproductive" senior manager gets the best office in the
building, precisely because he does little but tell good
stories- an ability that makes him tremendously valuable to the
corporation as an interpreter of events. These "other jobs" are
critical to the effective management of any successful
organization. They make up what we call the cultural network.
This network is
actually the primary means of communications within the
organization; it ties together all parts of the company without
respect to positions of titles. The network is important because
it not only transmit information but also interprets the
significance of the information for employees.
Many "modern" managers
only deal with the tip of the iceberg as far as communications
are concerned. They send a flurry of memos, letters, reports,
and policy statements, hold pre-meetings, meetings and
management sessions where they use flip charts. decision trees,
and statistical analysis to accomplish. Sometimes they don't
accomplish much. Almost 90 percent what goes on in the
organization has nothing to do with formal events. The real
business goes on in the cultural network. Even in the context of
a highly controlled meeting, there is a lot of informal
communication going on such as bonding, rituals, glances,
innuendos, and so forth. The real process of making
decisions, of gathering support, of developing opinions, happens
before the meeting - or after.
In a strong culture,
the network is powerful because it can reinforce the basic
beliefs of the organizations, enhance the symbolic value of
heroes by passing on stories of their deeds and accomplishments,
set new climate for change, and provide a thigh structure of
influence for the CEO. Top managers need to recognize and tap
into this cultural network to accomplish their goals. Especially
in a large corporation, working the network can be the only way
to get a job done.
Characters in the
Top managers need to
have good sense of this informal system of checks and balances
to gather and disseminate information. The whole process depends
on people, not paper. Let's take a look at some of the
characteristics in the cultural business network.
Continue reading about
'working the cultural network'.
The cultural network
are people defined as:
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