I read an article recently that tried to determined the differences between organisational culture and organisational climate. What it boiled down to was that the former is a complex set of interrelated behaviours, values and expectations that collectively align the organisation’s outward messaging and the experience the customer has when connecting with the business. Climate on the other hand, is seen as the prevailing “weather” conditions within the organisation. These “weather” conditions vary from one place to another. Just like the real weather, prevailing conditions can vary from one part of the business to another or from one team to another.
Organisations are a sum of their people. Often a business starts with one person with a dream, a vision, a consumer/customer need and a product. From a humble beginning it can grow into a second employee, or a third, or three hundred or even thousands of employees. In the best organisations there will be a prevailing culture that ensures that the customer’s experience of the brand is a great experience. The culture will evolve as the organisation grows, however some of the core founding principles will be evident. In the very best businesses the customer experience will be equal to or better than the brand messaging. What we promise you will get. As I have so often said, I have never met a customer who complains about having expectations met.
So what about this thing called climate? My view is that this is the crazy environment one sees and feels below the surface. This is the activity that goes into producing the customer experience. Just like the weather, climate can change fast. Think of your personal experience of work. Is it the same everyday? We are human and therefore we are subject to all sorts of influences which can change or may alter our state of mind or the way we feel today. I am envious of the Titleist Robotic Golf Driving machine because I would love to hit a golf ball as consistently as the machine! Alas, I can’t as I am not a machine. So, what is the climate like in your team? Is it cool calm and collected? Is it stressful? Is the climate in your team one of helpfulness or do we “just do our jobs!”
The climate in any organisation changes as frequently as the weather. It will change for a variety of reasons. The impacts are driven by internal and/or external factors. No matter where they come from, dealing with the impacts and trying to minimise the knock-on effects differentiates an ordinary business from a great business.
As the climate of the organisation is highly variable it can sometimes be aligned with the organisational culture and at times not at all. The latter offers a great threat to meeting the cultural expectation of meeting or exceeding the customers experience. It is our responsibility to continuously monitor the climate within our teams and indeed within ourselves. As individuals we are battling climate changes within ourselves. Today may not be the best day to be at work, but you have to! Today may be a day that one of your team mates is not on par! Today is the day that you feel the team is not at its best! Today is the day that someone else has done something to undermine the processes which has caused an issue. With all this going on, only you can control what you do about it. Your choice is to be part of the problem or to be part of the solution. Solution orientated people are winners. Make the climate in your team a winning climate.
Winning climates are those where there is recognition and respect of individual differences, however the common goal drives past these differences. We are not machines, we have one major advantage in that we are capable of making our own choices. For every action, we control our reaction! How are you going to react today? How are you going to be part of the solution? The choice is yours.
Because the choice is yours, YOU determine how cool your work place is. YOU determine how awesome your workplace can be.
Climate…unpredictable, uncontrollable or is it in our hands? It is absolutely in your hands. Make great choices to ensure the organisational climate is the best it can be to ensure the highest level of success in continuously meeting or exceeding stakeholder expectations.
Choice is yours…….!