If you’re married, you’ve got in-laws. You might be close to them. You might only see them at Christmas. Regardless, everyone has to learn how to navigate life with in-laws.

There are new customs, new ideas, new expectations to learn. You don’t just marry a person, you marry into a family.

What about our organisations?

There is a lot of talk about defining our culture, building the right culture, or re-working organisational culture.

While we’re busy trying to keep things in nice neat boxes for our employees to understand, we’re getting bombarded from every direction with outside influences.

We’ve all got Culture-In-Laws. Cultures we weren’t expecting, but are thrust upon us to understand, apply, and navigate.

Perhaps the culture-in-law of working parents. “We’ve never had working parents here before,” we say, and now we do. It creates new expectations your organisation must adapt to in the course of daily work.

Perhaps the culture-in-law of a rising immigrant population. This brings new shifts in expectation around packaging, advertising, product placement, or how clients interact with our business.

Perhaps the culture-in-law of an increase in young career workers. What is their culture and how does it impact our operations?

We all have culture-in-laws.

Blockbuster didn’t navigate it’s culture-in-laws very well. Instead of embracing a growing online culture, Blockbuster stuck to its brick-and-mortar store model. And failed.

Kodak didn’t navigate it’s culture-in-laws very well. Instead of investing in new technology, it kept making film. Right up to the day it nearly folded.

Apple nearly folded too. Apple tried to adapt to every culture-in-law it could find. In 1993, Apple released 48 products. In 2000, only 4 produced released. Apple went through a painful process of learning its own core culture in order to embrace the outside cultures influencing its’ products.

Where are the culture-in-laws in your workplace?

What culture-in-law habits and expectations do you need to navigate?

Is there a culture-in-law to learn, which currently looks like an area of frustration or concern?

Reduce your stress. Learn to understand your culture-in-laws.

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