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1. Here are some bold statements on what I think culture is.
2. Here are some case studies I've selected to prove my statements.
3. Here is my conclusion that my bold statements are right.
... almost every business book on culture that I've read so far. The lot. Shocking field.
I do love those that wax lyrically about the importance of seeing through a cultural lens and then provide no mechanism of perceiving context.

The art of strategy / culture / leadership requires an understanding of context ... for answers read my book, no maps provided etc.
I didn't honestly expect to find a field that was loaded with more mystical thinking, magic frameworks and blahs than strategy ... but culture has certainly come up trumps here.
#facepalm #facepalm #facepalm ... when you explain to others why something different needs to be done, the failure to change isn't just culture or inertia or the "wrong" type of people ... it could also be your hopeless communication mechanism, lack of a system of learning etc.
Book : It's important to understand different cultural values of an organisation.
Me : Excellent, show me how?
Book : Here's a list of values associated with success and the case studies to show them.
Me : Outcome bias? How evolved are those values? Where are the negatives? ...
Gosh, there seems to be so much wrong. Let us just take a very simple example ... the principles of an organisation or what I call doctrine. This is my list of 40 odd doctrine that I've "categorised" as being universally useful (much of this is unproved so far) from mapping ...
... now this list is mostly a decade old, there are some real basics in there such as "focus on user needs" but that's not uniform concept. Let's look at the x-axis of map to explain the issue ...
... the x-axis of a map represents the four stages of evolution of capital of which there are many forms. I use labels to describe these stages. I can mix and match any of the labels ... so let us mix concept / emerging / converging and accepted ...
Let us map aspects of doctrine for a company on that axis. [Normally I just use genesis, custom etc ... but to make it easier for others, I've spelt this out].

First, aspects of doctrine are connected to each other i.e. high situational awareness needs a focus on user needs etc.
Second, not all of the principles will be equally evolved (i.e. become accepted) and for some there will be different emerging opinions on what it means ...
... lastly, companies or industries might be less evolved in one set of principles than others. This is perfectly fine, if you're competing against others who are equally hopeless then no-one gains any advantage.
This doesn't even touch upon an issue that many of the things that seem to get described as "secrets of success" are actually context specific plays.

Whilst those doctrine (universal principles) are "useful" ... they have context in implementation, they are not equally evolved.
But to complicate matters more, remember the strategy cycle ... our current state (including our doctrine) is a reflection of the current and the past (i.e. past choices, landscape etc). Even our ethical values are evolving.
i.e. take my cup of tea example, just change the axis. What we mean by ethical trade or "fair conditions of work" are still evolving concepts and not uniformly accepted. Some are, even enshrined in law (eventually) ...
... it is driving me nuts that some of these books on culture talk about context and evolution but make almost no effort to actually examine context and evolution but instead come with bland secrets of success or bloody 2x2 matrices .... arghhhhh!!!!
You can no doubt guess that I've progressed from my usual state of thumping large tomes (or more aptly business tombs) onto tables out of disgust to throwing them across the room into my bin of despair. A container mostly full of strategy books but culture is catching up rapidly.
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