Will you stop kicking the culture bunny?

culture-bunny

Can you stop talking about culture?

This is the challenge I have been putting to organisations interested in improving the speed of learning, knowledge sharing, safety, efficiency, innovation and quality over the last three years. Why? Because performance and reliability depend on you eliminating ‘culture’ from your vocabulary.

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Culture is a big pink fluffy cuddly bunny that gets a kicking anytime project/programme outcomes fail to meet expectations. We’ve all been in the room when the kicking starts and we’ve all been guilty of nodding our approval as abuse is reigned down on this poor defenceless animal:

  • Knowledge Management didn’t succeed because of the culture, people just don’t want to share…
  • Nurses don’t follow hand washing procedures because of the culture around here. We’ve trained them, warned them, they just don’t get it…
  • The engineering Quality Improvement cycle can’t be shortened because of our culture. People just don’t get it…
  • Lessons Learned don’t work because of the culture. People just don’t think it’s important…

The abuse has to stop! And it begins by dropping ‘culture’ from the business lexicon.

Instead, every time you cock your foot for that first kicking, stop and use a combination of the following three words instead:

Behaviours

Processes

Structures

This is the culture triangle – culture being a product of behaviours, process and structures.

  • Knowledge Management isn’t working because of x behaviours, y processes and z structures…
  • Nurses don’t follow hand washing procedures because of x behaviours, y processes and z structures…
  • The engineering Quality Improvement cycle isn’t speeding up because of x behaviours, y processes and z structures…
  • Lessons Learned aren’t producing results because of x behaviours, y processes and z structures…

If you aren’t prepared to change your language, if you aren’t prepared to deal with the root of performance and reliability, you are guilty of abusing a pink fluffy cuddly bunny.

So, ask yourself, can you stop kicking the culture bunny? If not, what does that say about your approach to performance and reliability?

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