Precedents vs. Possibilities

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Two components define a company’s culture: 

1.      Its perspective towards people interactions and coordination (codependence vs. independence). 

A codependent culture emphasizes collaboration, managing relationships, and generating team success. Independent cultures value autonomy, individual action, and competition. 

2.      Its response to change (stability vs. agility). 

Cultures that favor stability prioritize consistency, predictability, and preservation of the status quo to drive efficiency and risk aversion. Those that value agility stress flexibility, adaptability, and receptiveness to change, prioritizing innovation, openness and a longer-term orientation.

The ‘response to change’ dimension is often characterized as contrasting a culture that focuses on objection versus one of that favors opportunity. Preserving the status quo pits precedents against possibilities suggested by flexibility or change.

Precedent looks back to maintain what was, while possibility looks forward to pursue what’s next.

Possibility begets more possibility. Opportunities multiply.

On the other hand, fixating on objection tends to lead to more objections or grievances.

Businesses that effectively focus on possibility don’t deny that there are reasons for objections, that there have been actions and omissions that must be addressed. But in response, they adopt a posture of forward motion, towards better, as the best way to address the problems that came before.

How is your company’s culture oriented?

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