Cultural Impact on Purpose
“Don’t put the cart before the horse” is an idiom first introduced during the Renaissance. It’s most likely to be said to someone when they’re not following the natural sequence of events. In an organization, there is a sequence of events that needs to occur in order to create a thriving, relationship-centered, balanced enterprise.
For example, one of the formative steps in establishing an organization is to know its why, its purpose. Like a baby who must crawl before they walk to build better hand-eye coordination, organizations must establish their reason for being before they realize their infinite potential. The clearer the purpose of an organization, the greater impact it will have on people individually and collectively. A clear purpose will stimulate rational and emotional responses and forever answers the organization’s why. Purpose is always established before culture; therefore, purpose drives culture. Culture isn’t the cause of an organization’s purpose. Culture is the effect of its purpose.
All work relationships are built upon perspective, a reason for the relationship. When the basis of the relationship is initiated on a clear and compelling purpose, and the purpose is consistent with the culture, the framework of the relationship has a solid footing. However, if the culture and purpose are different, the foundation of the relationship will be tenuous, favoring the culture over the purpose. Also, if an organization’s purpose is either lacking or has a non-supportive culture, relationships will be structured in a way that is either unclear or favors culture over the purpose. When culture becomes the purpose, the cart is put before the horse, and the organization’s stated purpose is nothing more than hollow words. This is why culture is often blamed as the cause of the problem, when in fact the root cause of bad culture is a bad purpose.
So, how do you get the horse to pull the cart? How do you turn around an organization that has allowed culture to dictate its purpose? First, an organization that shifts its actions to satisfy its purpose will drive meaningful value to the organization’s teammates, partners, and communities. Purpose is the horse pulling the cart, and it’s one reason people form relationships. When teams collaborate and drive value, even though they come from different perspectives, they can still agree on a shared purpose. When people believe in a shared purpose, their belief will create renewable energy, empowering the organization to thrive. Purpose sets the context for so many effective work relationships that the energy supply to create value has unlimited potential.
You are the stewards of renewed energy within an organization. Your positive energy reinforces business relationship management capabilities to evolve culture, build partnerships, drive value, and satisfy purpose.
You are the glue that facilitates mending the weakened and fractured pieces of an organization, a priceless asset to an organization needing direction and guidance. Do you know your organization’s purpose? Is it one that you believe in? As a BRM, you assist your organization in discovering its reason for being versus merely existing just to exist.
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