Anemergenceis a novel, complex, and often immeasurable state resulting from the combination of two or more simple ingredients. Your company's culture is the emergence created when combining your employees, the work they do and your customers. And it's an immeasurable emergence, yet it can be managed.
Enter the words 'organizational culture' into Google's search engine and you'll get more than 3.7 billion hits in less than a second. Business professionals and academics have been wrestling to define the term organizational culture since it was coined. There is no one definition that everyone agrees on and the reason is because organizational culture is an emergence.
One CEO, when asked about what kind of a culture she wanted for her organization, told me "I'm not sure, but I'll know it when I see it." That's not an uncommon sentiment among leaders. But it's not leadingits waiting.
Just because an emergence is immeasurable doesn't mean it's not manageable. What's key is to understand which ingredients are combined to form the emergence. Those ingredients usually are measureable. In the case of business culture the ingredients are 1. the employees, 2. the work they do, and 3. the customers. What else is there? Nothing. Managing those three ingredients well will guide the emergence in a positive direction with adequate speed. Think of the ingredients as leverswhich one to pull, at what time, how hard, and for how long, are all the jobs management. Management manages ingredients, not results. Results emerge.
Great leaders understand that management means more than reading spreadsheets (results) and then telling the workforce to improve them. It means understanding the ingredients of those results and understanding down to the finest detail how those ingredients behave and why.
Peter Drucker said that 'the goal of a business is to get and keep customers.' The immeasureable yet manageable business culture makes that happen. Customers experience a company's culture with every thought, touch, use of your product or service. Employee, work, customer.measure, manage, win.