This week we are going to look at the why, how, when, what, who of Culture in a Crisis.

In many ways, this global pandemic is laying bare what really matters to different businesses and nations, and in the process, revealing a lot about their character. It’s also reminding us of the many people, places and cultures that make this world so wonderfully diverse.

In Germany, it’s all about the party: A government-backed initiative called United We Stream (UWS) from Berlin’s ClubCommission, an association of around 245 independent clubs and concert venues, is keeping the party alive via daily livestreamed DJ sets from the club floor as ravers self-isolate.

But for those that would be heading to the outback in Australia are being encouraged by The Caravan Industry of Australia to pitch a tent in their backyards (or living rooms) instead. Indoor campers can then see Australia’s wildlife via livestreams from the Lone Pine Koala SanctuaryMelbourne Zoo and CaPTA Group Wildlife Parks in Queensland.

How would you describe the culture in your organisation? How would you describe it within your team? This is a really great time to assess your culture, analyse the dynamics between co-workers and notice how they communicate or collaborate with each other.

  • Do they respect one another’s ideas and opinions?
  • Do they relate on an interpersonal level?
  • Do they function cohesively as a team?
  • Do you promote a free exchange of dialogue and unique perspectives?

The way we communicate in this virtual environment is going to be a testament to the culture of your organisation. What traditions and rituals do you have in the office that you can move over to this virtual world?

Find out what your team think of your culture. Ask everyone to write three words to describe the culture on a piece of paper and when you’re all on a video call, everyone has to put it up to the screen at the same time.

Try looking at these words and determine where you would sit:

Change/Adaptability: How have you approached this inevitable change? Is it seen as an opportunity to innovate? Is there effective communication about change? How well has the organisation adapted to this situation?

Respect/Fairness: Do employees feel like they are treated with respect and fairly regardless of their position, sexual identity, race, or tenure? Are policies implemented consistently or do managers have some favourites that get away with bending the rules?

Trust/Integrity: Do employees feel trusted to do their jobs? Do leaders live up to the values of the organisation? Is there transparency in communication?

Learning Opportunities: Do you focus on providing growth opportunities for your employees? Are there clear learning objectives for every position in the organisation? Do you encourage employees to take on new projects?  Are you taking any potential down time at the moment as an opportunity to further their development?

Results Orientation: Do you strive to achieve results as an organisation? Are people held accountable to their commitments? Do you have incentives that encourage the right behaviours?

Teamwork: Do you collaborate well across departments and teams? Are there clear expectations for how you work together? Is there clear ownership for different processes in the system?

Employee Engagement: Do you value the talents and contributions of your employees as the key factor for your success? Do you create an environment where people can engage?

Meaning/Purpose: Is your mission important to your employees? How does your organisation contribute to better the world? Do employees understand how their job role contributes to the greater good?  In this kind of situation, can they still see what the over-arching purpose is?

Communication: This is the big one that we have already touched on.  Do you communicate frequently and consistently about what’s going on? Are you transparent in your communications? Do you explain the why behind changes?

Goals/Strategy: Are you aligned with the overall organization goals and strategy? Is the strategy meaningful to employees? Is everyone clear on how they will help to achieve their strategy?  Do you do what you say you will do? Do you encourage people to take risks and allow them to make mistakes? Do you have a “blame” culture?

Whatever the culture, whatever the crisis, we can still be in control of how we approach it.  Use this as an opportunity to review and reset your culture.

Join us each week as we delve into each of the 7Cs of Coaching through Crisis, next week we will be looking at Connection.

This great BBC article shared loads of the cultural differences around the world:

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As an experienced board member and Managing Director, our founder, Laura Capell-Abra knew that the day to day fire-fighting of running a business often over-took the need to look to the future. No More Ifs or Buts was developed to help businesses create a culture of continuous development.