"A city is composed of different kinds of men; similar people cannot bring a city into existence" - Politics, by Aristotle.
In fact, it is not a literal quote (I have not found it), but an extract, an insight from his book three. Nevertheless, these words have been hammering my brain since last month when a good friend tweeted them, after seeing some of the effects of "Black Friday" on stores (caused by people's behaviour) and, above all, after six months acting purely as a "cultural change agent" as my job.
I have not got to a conclusion with my thoughts, though. But I was thinking that maybe 2.300 years old words deserve some reflection.
First it comes the easy thinking: similar minded people do not help the group to improve and rise. And, of course, it counterpart: very different minded people are difficult to organise and orchestrate. Where lays the right balance is one of the keys when building an (organisational) culture.
But, when getting through this point I always ask myself the same: but what is a culture? And besides the definition (and Merrian-Webster already has one very "corp"), every step I take, every move I make, I think the key is not in "culture" but in "a".
Maybe we (change agents, consultants, agilists, gurus and all the rest of wildlife working on this matter) are wrong trying to setup a single set of attitudes, values, goals and practices and we should start focusing on how we can accompany these different sub-cultures inside our organisations, towards a common and shared understanding where every single group adds the best from its own point of view.
As I already wrote, I have no answer yet. But every time I think about it I believe talking about the company culture is a very simplistic approach. I suppose I am in the group of people that loves to make it complex. Let's see what I can give from my side.
Cover photo by Katie Moum