A Career of Evolving Culture

Following 20 years at a large Canadian telecommunications firm, Bruce established the project management consulting firm Solutions Management Inc (SMI). Since 1999, he has provided contract project/program management services, been a source for project management support personnel and created/delivered courses to over 7,000 participants in Canada, the United States and England.

What’s your definition of organizational culture? I’ve asked myself many times which of these questions best probes for a defining answer:

1. Is organizational culture the simple equation of establishing a mix of employees that matches the broader community at large? I live and work in arguably the most ethnically diverse city in the world. With a population approaching 7 million, over 51% self-identify as being a visible minority. Being a city of European decent, if “culture” includes families who have emigrated from EU nations (and it should), I suspect the percentage of people who would categorize themselves as part of the cultural mix could rise into the 70% area. It makes for a fantastic mix of unique festivals, restaurants and communities that all contribute to making the city what it is.

Does this mean, therefore, that local companies looking to build a resource pool should match the city’s profile?

2. Is organizational culture defined as “the way we do things here”? Perhaps the “culture” is one where there are limited layers of management and decisions are made quickly. I worked as a project management consultant at a mid-sized company where there was a president and only two managers that represented lines of business. The rest of the team, which was in excess of 100, knew there was only one path to take …

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"Too bad all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxis and cutting hair."

- George Burns