Culture is a Rule Changer

Our subdivision entrance is directly across from another subdivision entrance, separated by a busy road.  To make it worse, there is a curve just before the entrances.

Typically, a person turning right would have the right of way and the person turning left (crossing both lanes to head out) would wait.  But over the last 10 or so years in the life the of these two subdivisions, the rules have changed.  The person with the right of way, almost always watches the curve for the other person and waves them on ahead.  Seemingly all the drivers in these two rather large subdivisions know this unwritten rule.

I realize it’s hard to visualize, but hopefully, even if you don’t get the image I’m describing, you understand that the culture of the two subdivisions has effectively changed the rules for everyone living in these two places.

Culture is a powerful force in any organization.  And the set of rules is shaped by the culture.  It can work both ways – both for good and bad.

Have you seen this in your organization?   What rules are in place or have changed because of the powerful force of culture?  Has it been positive or negative?


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