Organizational Culture & the Kanban Maturity Model

Jul 22, 2020 3 min read
Organizational Culture & the Kanban Maturity Model

The KMM is build on the belief that desirable outcomes follow practice adoption, that practice adoption can only ever follow culture, and that culture adapts to practiced values. Therefore, all change must be driven first and foremost through adoption of values.

We released our Organizational Culture poster  as a companion for the Kanban Maturity Model release 1.2. The poster  visualizes many of the concepts and guidance in the forthcoming 2nd  edition of the book Kanban Maturity Model. Section 2 of the book is  called Culture. There are 4 chapters altogether, and in total, 19,250  words.

Our approach to organizational culture is as follows:

  • The culture is the way it is because of the decisions and  actions of the leaders, and the behavior of the workforce as a  consequence of those decisions and actions.
  • To more easily drive change you desire a liberal, tightly  cohesive, high trust culture, and the reality is that you probably don’t  have one.
  • Culture is elastic, it can be molded, and stretched.
  • Culture can be viewed as the collection of values and norms that  define the identity of the organization, and the behaviors that result  from attempting to align decisions and actions with espoused values and  norms
  • Culture can also be viewed through a 3-dimension sociological  model with social innovation, social cohesion and social capital  representing the 3-dimensional space. Every organizational culture can  be mapped in this space.
  • We believe that organizational culture can be hacked through the  actions of the leaders: new values can be introduced; the sociology can  be changed through a combination of values and practice adoption.

The KMM is build on the belief that desirable  outcomes follow practice adoption, that practice adoption can only ever  follow culture, and that culture adapts to practiced values. Therefore,  all change must be driven first and foremost through adoption of values.

We use simple mnemonic structures, we call  decision filters to encourage appropriate behavior aligned to values.  Decision filters are a coaching tool, to enable changes in normative  behavior from leaders. Alignment of decisions and actions signals a  change in culture to the workforce. Proper use of decision filters is a  means to hack the culture and mold it into a better, more desirable  state.

We’ve also provided guidance on practices that  hack the sociology of the organization: practices that increase trust;  and practices that either strengthen or weaken the social cohesion.

Perhaps, the most remarkable aspect of the  model is the guidance on social innovation. We often hear from senior  leaders that “we are not innovative enough.” And we see plenty of  companies pursuing the adoption of frameworks and methodologies for  innovation.

We do not believe that improve the innovation  in your organization through process adoption, rather we believe that  you create a culture where innovation can thrive. So we’ve identified  and codified some of the institutional elements that need to be present  to enable an innovative, socially liberal culture. This short extract  from chapter 8 of the new book explains our thinking,

Liberal  culture naturally maps to the deeper levels of organizational maturity, specifically ML5 and ML6. It would be really challenging to achieve the outcomes expected at ML5 and ML6 without a strongly liberal, innovative  culture. In this respect, the KMM encapsulates the historical period of  the Enlightenment  in its architecture. A built-for-survival,  resilient, robust, antifragile organizational culture resembles a  mature, liberal democracy as envisaged by 17th and 18th Century  philosophers.

We believe that the new KMM is a game-changing  architecture for organization growth, development, and change. By  recognizing that leading organizations and leading change is primarily a  sociological challenge, we have codified extensive existing literature  in sociology, political science and social psychology, into a coaching  playbook, that enables pragmatic, actionable, and evidence-based  guidance for leaders in organizations of all sizes.

We’ve been teaching this material in our  advanced classes for over a decade. It is exciting to make the material  much more accesible through the new book and the new poster. Download  it, print it at A1 size, display it boldly. Encourage the mantra…

Outcomes follow Practices
Practices follow Culture
Culture follows Values

Lead with Values!
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