While discussing this question with an experienced colleague during a brief cultureQs demonstration a few days ago, we yet again discovered the multiple interpretations that could apply to so many questions and thereby also the opportunities they present to any team.

We found ourselves talking about « your culture »: whether it refers to the norms in society or the organisations in which we work. In addition, we found it necessary to distinguish between standard practices and those that we consider desirable.

We also distinguished « manager » from leader especially as the terms are so frequently not only misunderstood in society but also interchanged.

All in all, a rich fruitful exchange on a critical aspect of managing people lasting just a few minutes.

I was reminded of a situation relating to the same question with a German client a few months ago. They asked the same preliminary question as my colleague and myself, then failed to follow up. During the debrief one team member mentioned the missed opportunity to revisit practices in their corporation, which were recognised as far from ideal. Senior management present was unwilling to open the conversation.

Questions and differences always provide opportunities for improvement and development. We must take responsibility for using them.