Sunday, March 31, 2013

Culture for Dynamic Environments

What culture might help your project team cope with rapid change? Technology organisations often have a communal culture, sharing and communicating well (Greenberg and Baron 2003). Various studies talk about the need to be organic and informal, egalitarian, and share rewards for experimentation. Some of these ideas and others emerged in my studies on project managers challenged by rapid change. For instance one participant reported:

 We give flexibility for people to explore and determine where and when they explore, as long as there is justification it is contributing to the overall objective. We put a lot of effort into a culture of flexibility and taking responsibility.

 …and this from a drug developer:

 We promote initiative on the ground; allow flexibility to take advantage of fleeting moments; allow flexibility with key higher level objectives in mind and pushed the line constantly so staff had to embrace change.

So one key theme emerging was the need to promote a culture of accountability to the project goals, and flexibility to achieve them. One can imagine this would require a high degree of trust in a highly skilled team. I will explore some of these ideas in more detail in a future blog, starting with how some organisations encourage experimentation and how it can help in dynamic environments.

Simon Collyer

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