The Five Stages Of Culture

The five stages of cultures are:

Stage One: Criminal clusters, such as gangs and prisons, where the language is “life sucks,” and people act out in despairingly hostile ways. Life is so unfair for this segment that anything is permissible. Fortunately, we don’t have to deal with this much in the workplace. It is only 2 percent of the total population, while 40 percent in prisons.

Stage Two: The language used here is “my life sucks.” This group makes up 25 percent of workplace tribes and exhibits the behavior of apathetic victims. This is an upgrade from Stage One because even though their life sucks, they see others around them whose life is working. They may have conversations of, “if only I had a college degree,” or “if only I could afford a car,” then my life would work.

Stage Three: This is dominant culture in almost half of U.S. workplace tribes, where the language is “I’m great” and they are thinking, “and you’re not.” Stage Three people are competitive and work to show everyone that they are smarter and better than anyone else. This personally competitive cultural stage produces limited innovation and almost no collaboration.

Stage Four: Representing 22 percent of organizational cultures, where the language is “we’re great.” Stage Four is the zone of Tribal Leadership where productivity improves substantially, three to five times more than at Stage Three. Partnerships form and stable effective partnership is the structure. At this stage, people feel more alive and have more fun.

Stage Five: This is the culture of 2 percent of workforce tribes and the language is “life is great.” Here, people focus on realizing potential while making history. Teams at Stage Five produce remarkable innovations and lead their industry.

Once Tribal Leaders identify which cultures exist in their tribe, they can use specific leverage points to upgrade the culture. But first, they have to move themselves to Stage Four by shifting the way that they work and the structure of the relationships around them. It can’t work from a “do as I say, not as I do” behavior. Tribal Leaders have to “walk the talk” and authentically act the part. Specifically, at Stage Four leaders know and act from their “core values.” A core value is “a principle without which life wouldn’t be worth living.”

As a Tribal Leader, you can change the culture of your organization bit by bit – and make it run faster, better and more effectively. The result you will achieve will be greater strategic success, less stress and more fun!

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