Tag Archives: culture

The Agile Culture Map

In one of my previous posts I reviewed The culture map by Erin Meyer. Based on this book I created a questionnaire to ask my readers the come up with their ideas where to position the agile culture on the eight scales of The Culture Map. As we know, and stated by many surveys, the top 1 reason for agile transition failures is that the organizational culture is at odds with agile values. So I was curious to see the agile culture map visualizing the differences. In this map I compare The Netherlands with the Agile culture. For other countries you will have complete different results. At this moment there are culture maps available of 67 countries.

Agile culture map results

As we can see in this comparison there are a lot of differences to take into account. In the book The Culture Map you can find approaches how to bridge those gaps. The figures from The Netherlands are Erin Meyer’s figures. The agile figures are the average figures of 29 respondents of my Agile Culture Map questionnaire. Feel free to submit your input too so we can make it even more accurate. You can find an explanation of each row in the questionnaire. See the Agile Culture Map questionnaire.

I am looking forward to your reactions if you think these differences make sense or how you want to cope with them!

 

 

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Agile Culture Map

In my previous post (see: The Culture Map) I reviewed The Culture Map and gave an example to show cultural differences between countries.

Afbeelding1The top 1 reason for agile transition failures, is that the organizational culture is at odds with agile values. I would like to create an agile culture map that can be used to visualize the bridges you have to cross when performing an agile transition. It could probably show as well why agile transitions in one country are more difficult than in another country.

To make this happen I need your input to build this agility culture map. I would like to ask you to answer a simple questionnaire with eight questions: Agile Culture Map questionnaire.

Results will be shown in a next post on this blog.

Review: The culture map – Decoding how people think, lead, and get things done across cultures

9781610392761-480x600Looking back at my week in Tokyo with all its cultural differences, e.g. the punctuality, the group culture, the clean streets but no garbage cans, the mouth caps to protect others and yourself, Japanese people skipping a lot of words, and to understand them you need to know the context, et cetera, I think reading The culture map – Decoding how people think, lead, and get across cultures written by Erin Meyer was a good way to use my time when I flew back at an altitude of 38000 ft from Tokyo, Narita airport to Amsterdam, Schiphol.

It’s an easy to read and entertaining book with numerous examples from her own experience to understand how cultural patterns of behavior and belief frequently impact our perceptions (what we see), cognitions (what we think), and actions (what we do). The purpose of this book is to improve your ability to understand these three aspects of culture and to improve your effectiveness in dealing with them. If you want to build and manage global teams that can work together successfully this book will be a great tool with lots of strategies and advices to support you.

The author developed an eight-scale model to help to improve your effectiveness. Each of the eight scales represents one key area that managers must be aware of, showing how cultures vary along a spectrum from one extreme to its opposite.

The eight scales are (see the figure with Japan and the Netherlands plotted on these scales):

  • Communicating: low-context vs. high-context
  • Evaluating: direct negative feedback vs. indirect negative feedback
  • Leading: egalitarian vs. hierarchical
  • Deciding: consensual vs. top-down
  • Trusting: task-based vs. relationship-based
  • Disagreeing: confrontational vs. avoids confrontation
  • Scheduling: linear-time vs. flexible-time
  • Persuading: principles-first vs applications-first (does not plot all world cultures as the concept of applications-first and principles-first only applies to western environments. Asian cultures, for example, are Holistic and neither Applications-first nor Principles first)

Schermafdruk 2018-11-11 15.06.57The culture map (source: www.erinmeyer.com/tools)

When examining how people from different cultures relate to one another, what matters is not the absolute position of either culture on the scale but rather the relative position of two cultures. It is this relative positioning that determines how people view each other. E.g. Japanese people see Dutch people deciding more top-down. But if you compare deciding between the Netherlands and Belgium, the Netherlands are more consensual and Belgium more top-down.

Each scale is described in a separate chapter with many, many examples to explain the different extremes from the spectrum and strategies and actionable advices how to cope with these people. Sometimes very specific rules or behavior are given. E.g. the “Law of Jante” (leading, Denmark),Ringisystem (deciding, Japan), Guanxi(trusting, China).

Mapping the communication scale against the evaluating scale gives four quadrants. Particular cultures can be found in each of these quadrants and the book explains different strategies for effectively dealing with people from each.

Mapping the disagreeing scale against a second scale that measures how emotionally expressive a culture is will help to understand that emotional expressiveness is not the same thing as comfort in expressing open disagreement.

To order: The culture map – Decoding how people think, lead, and get across cultures