Newsletter – October, 2020

On My Mind
I’m happy to announce the publication of my research report on Shaping Organizational Culture: Abstract: The culture of an organization can potentially be a valuable asset or—for some organizations—a barrier to progress. Leadership Teams (LTs) sometimes attempt to shape their organizational culture to improve the performance of the organization. How can organizational culture be shaped? This research report discusses different perspectives on organizational culture, presents examples of organizational culture dimensions, describes how organizational culture can be measured and the performance visually displayed, and explains how an LT can start to shape its organizational culture through a portfolio of projects. Additionally, the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis provides a unique vantage point from which to view organizational culture. Some LTs have found it difficult to preserve their organizational culture because many employees are working from home and the number of face-to-face interactions has significantly decreased. Some other LTs now believe it is necessary to radically change their organizational culture to save the organization. Several organizational culture dimensions appear to be especially important during this pandemic such as safety, empathy, resiliency, adaptability, and creativity. These five organizational culture dimensions will be featured in an illustrative example. The research report is available on the “RESEARCH” page of this website.

Interesting Stories
I stop briefly at a small pond nearly every day during my power walk. One day last spring I noticed several painted turtles sunning themselves on the rocks that jut out of the surface of the water. The rocks make perfect sunning platforms for the turtles. Now during my roughly 1-minute stop I count the number of turtles that are sunning on the rocks. The counts look something like these numbers: 2, 1, 4, 0, 3, 1, 2, 0, 5, 3, 1, 2, 1, 3, etc. The Poisson distribution is a good probability model to describe this phenomenon and the data. The Poisson distribution is unique in that the mean (average) is equal to the variance. The mean seems to be “roughly equal to 2” in my turtle case. What will the data look like in the next few weeks? I know what the numbers will be in the winter.

Company News
I conducted the 12th Annual Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference on September 30, 2020 on the Zoom platform. “Thank you” to all who participated in the event. I’m grateful to the following people for their excellent presentations: Laura Grunloh of the MN DNR; Molly Steffen of Allina Health; Dr. Andy Van de Ven of the Carlson School of Management; Dr. Kim Wernsing of the MN DHS Direct Care & Treatment; Eric Gamble of IBM and Wake Forest University; Vicki Amon-Higa of Amon-Higa & Associates; and Vern Campbell of Process Management and the University of Manitoba. There are several public SIS events in October and November—the brochures are available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website.

Intriguing Reads
Toyota—and some other organizations—are influenced by ka-kun. Sasaki et al. (2020) conducted research on ka-kun in Japanese family businesses: “In Japan, these values and guidelines are known as ka-kun, which can be loosely translated as ‘family mottos,’ and include principles, rules and instructions left by past leaders (including founders) to their successors.” The authors further stated: “Theoretically, ka-kun can be viewed as strategic identify statements—strategy documents espousing the mission, values, or philosophy of the organization.” Toyota has ka-kun in the form of The Five Main Principles Of Toyoda. Check-out this great paper – Reference: Sasaki, I., Kotlar J., Ravasi, D., & Vaara, E., (2020), Dealing with Revered Past: Historical Identity Statements and Strategic Change in Japanese Family Firms, Strategic Management Journal, 41(3), PP. 590-623.