It goes without saying that, as a member of the upper management of an organization, you should know and understand the culture of the place very well.
What’s probably less obvious is that the culture of an organization is primarily upheld by a small number of select individuals – the culture kingpins.
In any organization the majority of employees are by nature culture-neutral and follow the general atmosphere of the place, but the atmosphere itself depends on the kingpins – the influencers.
There are culture kingpins at every level of the organization but they are rarely obvious to spot. Many of them will have a front person (or people) through which they exert their influence.
This isn’t something devious or shady – it’s just how human societies work and you should simply be aware of who your kingpins are, in case you need to pivot the culture at some stage.
So, just watch and make mental notes but never let the kingpins know that you’ve figured them out and never negotiate with them directly. Again, nothing devious, it’s just a good negotiating strategy to appear aloof to the other side’s strengths :-).
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