I often take for granted that a strong culture in a business is a good thing. It knits people together; it supports them; it creates resilience that helps a business survive uncertain times.
All these things are true. But strong cultures often evolve a style of communication that’s “high-context”. Lots is left unsaid; a unique language emerges within that culture; position in the hierarchy is respected; they’re difficult for outsiders to understand and to break their way into.
This week, I’ve been thinking about what that means for arguments and disagreements within the organisation, and why a lack of them isn’t necessarily a sign of a strong culture at all.
This week’s article
There are high-context cultures and low-context cultures, in human society as well as in businesses. Strong cultures are often high-context: implicit, respectful of hierarchy, desiring of consensus and continuity. That means fewer arguments – but that’s not always a good thing.
This week’s two interesting links
A lot of wisdom in a very short post: Andrew Bosworth on the ways that complex systems fail.
“It has always struck me that the more edifice you build to prevent minor failures the larger the capacity you create for catastrophic ones, just like climbers roped together on a mountaintop… My concern is that many of the efforts we have to defend against failure create catastrophic complexity without meaningfully reducing failure at all.”
For those of us who have been running remote workshops during lockdown using platforms like Zoom and Miro, an interesting article from FutureLearn on taking that a step further by running asynchronous workshops – workshops where people don’t gather together at the same time, but rather participate over a longer period of time, batting ideas back and forth between each other. #