We influence and indeed shape the way we do things at work, but these ways also shape us at the same time. We are part of a full circle influence-being-influenced which is obvious but often not understood.
The ‘operating system’ of the company, the processes, systems and the set of written and unwritten rules, shape our own behaviours, mostly unconsciously. So designing that operating system is not only a matter of efficiency and effectiveness of ‘the system’ but a cultural tool in its own right. Frequently that uni-directional shaping, when the operating system is on the whole more powerful to influence individual and group behaviours than the individuals can ever influence the operating system, takes over and has its own life, ‘producing’ a particular type of employee.
Sugata Mitra, educational researcher, explored this idea in his TED Prize acceptance speech, speaking of the British Empire’s bureaucratic approach to managing the empire, “They engineered a system so robust, that it’s still with us today, continually producing identical people for a machine that no longer exists.”
When looking at the operating system of the company, we are looking at culture. Simple notion, and, as such, likely to be forgotten,