Posts Tagged ‘Organization’

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I have mentioned in various settings The Glass Wall and it has inspired some inquiries. This is my introduction to the concept. I plan to follow it with some more concrete definitions. This series is more organizationally/business oriented.

In my twenty plus years in the hospitality industry and now decade in the non- profit world I have found that many organization have glass walls. These walls are a function of the culture of the organization and interestingly enough transcend changes in leadership, focus, language and communication. Stakeholders at every level rarely recognize these glass walls and even more rarely challenge them. When they do, they are most often bludgeoned into compliance, dismissed or opt to leave. This costs the organization significant resources but the culture most often flips the script to find this type of turnover liability, as an asset. It is in this kind of internal language and attitudes that the glass part of the glass wall is conceived. It becomes so engrained in the organization that while its members understand the importance of the limits placed on them by the wall, they do not see it for what it is. They also cannot see the organizational failure it breeds as it is shrouded in the strongly regulated and distinctly reinterpreted language of the culture. Significant organizational assets are unknowingly tasked with protecting the glass wall both internally and externally.

Cultural boundaries are a necessity for any organization. So the dysfunction does not necessarily reside in the boundaries, rather in their inflexibility and invisibility. In the next few posts on this subject I will discuss what I have seen as the some of the characteristics of cultural boundaries that constitute a glass wall. The very first step in being able to break the glass, is to be able to see it!

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