Avoiding a Vulture Culture

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CNV00004_1What kind of culture do you have in your organisation?

Is it one where everyone picks over the bones of failure, blaming everyone else?

Do you wonder what it would be like to work freely without worrying about messing up?

And is your company so paralysed by indecision that no-one is prepared to raise their head above the parapet?

Tim Lambert at Kay-Lambert Associates Ltd has identified what he calls the Vulture Cultures.

He says; “These are so damaging because the enemy is within and not always easy to pinpoint. Slowly, over time, the organisation behaviour becomes one of back-biting, bullying, baiting, battling, and blame. People become afraid and are always looking over their shoulder, and on the lookout for somewhere to hide.”

He suggests that there are 4 types of organisational vulture cultures: Cultures of Atrophy, Chaos, Accord, and Caution, each with their own characteristics.

And whilst Lambert admits that vultures fulfil a vital function in nature you wouldn’t necessarily want one in your organisation. His company has been working with companies across Europe, the USA, and Asia-Pacific implementing programmes to help them avoid the vulture culture trap. Asking the question; “what are the biggest internal issues you face in your organisation?” produces a variety of responses but Lambert asserts that they all come down in the end to weak and ineffective decision-making.

So here are five simple remedies taken from his programme.

Develop & articulate decision-making rules eg supporting team decisions
Introduce a company-wide systematic decision-making process (the “Dare to Decide” process)
Be explicit about every employee’s authority to decide ie their job profiles and boundaries
Delegate routine decisions
Always schedule learning reviews – as a team, a department, and as a company.

This post is based, with permission, on a paper: “How to avoid a vulture culture… and create a culture of construction” written by Tim Lambert, founding director of Kay Lambert Associates Ltd from whom you can obtain the full article or further advice.


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