IMPORTANT EVENTS AFFECT OUR FUTURE CULTURE
Are you curious about how cultural content is created? Right now there is a lot happening in our world which many people are reacting on, commenting on and discussing while we resent reality. During this process displacements are formed in content of cultures.
AN EVENT OCCURS
An event occurs which quickly escalates with strong reactions and perceptions amongst staff members, politicians and citizens. The escalation arises when the decision which the officials which have handled the event get questioned in further rounds.
EVERYONE STARTS TO REACT WITH EACH OTHER
These reactions lead to discussions where everyone involved starts to react with each other, formally and informally, where one meets up. New groups and positions are involved, often through media which captures the situation and describes what has happened with emphasis on the questioning. The newspapers write, Facebook and Twitter receive lots of comments from the general public. More and more people are dragged in. The situation could be at risk of being taken out of control of the officials. The ones which are directly involved in the event are exposed to a gear which affects the them as well as their families.
SIGNALS WHICH AFFECT HOW THE CULTURE IS CREATED
If children are affected, their parents are dragged along. At the employer’s it is the official who has formally taken the decision which is being questioned firsthand. When that escalates the leader of the one it concerns is dragged along, and in the next step even administrative politicians and municipal board. The more people involved, the stronger the reactions. Every comment, every act becomes a signal for either damping or escalation of the reactions. Decision is the message of the signal. Therefore it is important that the leaders understand the consequences of their actions.
CONCLUSIONS ARE DRAWN AROUND MANAGEMENT, ORGANIZATION AND YOUR OWN ROLE
The signals lead to conclusions amongst staff, citizens and the ones concerned. Once they have settled, they will live on long after the event has ended. One remembers the conclusion more than the facts that belong to the situation. This is due to the fact that memories that are emotionally charged are stronger than purely fact-based information.
THE CONCLUSIONS SET INTO THE ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE AND INFLUENCE THE CITIZENS' VISION OF THE ORGANIZATION
Getting conclusions from the majority of the staff with a strong positive or negative value affects the organizational culture in the future. The respect for the business and its practitioners increases when the organization’s representatives address events that are not acceptable to the citizens. The image of the organization’s business deteriorates if one is unable to handle the situation.
We have the right values in the organization.
We work from the outside and the inside when we take a stand on the issue, that is to say the needs of those we are there for take precedence over personnel considerations.
The most important thing is that the affected citizens are treated with respect and care.
Our politicians ignore everything but their own voters.
Our management is not competent enough to handle this type of events.
Our top management hides when it is windy.
As an official, you have no support at all in the organization.
Nobody cares about how I am.
HOW SHOULD LEADERS ACT?
Attenuation of emotions and reactions follows as a consequence of fact-based information. “The fire does not get any new fuel”. When the reaction phase is the most active, it is important that leaders and management move out amongst the people who are involved and react. They need to take the calls. With their presence, they calm the discussions. They dampen with the addition of facts and by admitting what one lacks knowledge of. They must show that they take responsibility for the situation. By clarifying that certain things cannot be entered into for the sake of those involved, one also calms down. On the other hand, it can be said that in principle the employer’s view is as follows:… By participating in these reactive conversations, you regain some of the control over the situation. Under no circumstances may managers enter into opinions about the event.
If the event has been activated outside your own organization, you need to add subduing signals, such as “We are working on the issue and will hand out information this afternoon” or call a press conference where you are informed about the handling of the decision being criticized. With the strength of the reaction, the position of the spokesperson is raised.
If the reactions lead to the realization that a wrong decision has been made, one must correct. This is always done by the organization’s higher representatives. If clear mistakes have been made, the decision-maker must go. Such a powerful signal to employees and the outside world leads to everything calming down, provided that it becomes clear that the organization’s representatives fully understand what needs to be corrected and implement it. Through this action, negative conclusions can change and land more positively.
The tendency for journalists to increasingly look for situations of this kind in public administration means that public organizations should discuss both a policy for how managers should act and decide whether companies should have a spokesperson who is always sent out in contact with the journalists. It is not easy for an individual leader to manage not to be fooled into statements that give more wood to the fire. A policy provides a basis for an action plan for the various steps one should take when an important event breaks out.
The culture is lived with for many years after an event that provoked strong reactions. It is important to be proactive – not reactive!