Does your organization have a Calumet Culture?

In my previous post, I once again blogged about how the key to success for most, if not all, organizational initiatives is the willingness of people all across the enterprise to embrace collaboration.

However, what happens when an organization’s corporate culture doesn’t foster an environment of collaboration?

Sometimes as a result of rapid business growth, an organization trades effectiveness for efficiency, prioritizes short-term tactics over long-term strategy, and even encourages “friendly” competition amongst its relatively autonomous business units.

However, when the need for a true enterprise-wide initiative such as data governance becomes (perhaps painfully) obvious, the organization decides to bring representatives from all of its different “tribes” together to discuss the complexities of the business, data, technical, and (most important) people related issues that would shape the realities of a truly collaborative environment.

“Calumet Culture” is the term I like using (and not just because of my affinity for alliteration) to describe the disingenuous way that I have occasionally witnessed these organizational stakeholder gathering “ceremonies” carried out.

Calumet was the Norman word used by Norman-French Canadian settlers to describe the “peace pipes” they witnessed the people of the First Nations (referred to as Native Americans in the United States) using at ceremonies marking a treaty between previously combative factions.

Simply gathering everyone together around the camp fire (or the conference room table) is an empty gesture, similar in many ways to non-Native Americans mimicking a “peace pipe ceremony” and using one of their words (Calumet) to describe what was in fact a deeply spiritual object used to convey true significance to the event.

When collaboration is discussed at strategic planning meetings with great pomp and circumstance, but after the meetings end, the organization returns to its non-collaborative status quo, then little, if any, true collaboration should be expected to happen.

Does your organization have a Calumet Culture?

In other words, does your organization have a corporate culture that talks the talk of collaboration, but doesn’t walk the walk?

If so, how have you attempted to overcome this common barrier to success?