Cultural Tsunami From a Culture of Enforcement to a Culture of Empowerment By Doron Zilbershtein, Chief Visionary Officer, Art Anderson Associates Jeppesen and C-Map have joined together to deliver the most comprehensive offering of navigational and operations management tools available to mariners. Jeppesen pioneered the publication The word Culture is simply defined as the system of shared meaning, actions, values, attitudes, conduct and beliefs that develop within an organization and which guide the behaviour of its members. It is the glue that keeps the organization together and enables it to effectively achieve its strategic objectives and operate successfully. However, it can only be as effective as the alignment between the leadership and employee values, attitude and beliefs. Take for example the following anecdote: Moses made a third pilgrimage to Mount Sinai. After much climbing, he arrived at the burning bush and removed his sandals. Kneeling down, he said a prayer of entreaty: "Oh mighty God, your people have sent me to ask you a question about the Ten Commandments." "What question do they have?" roared the deity above. "They want to know, are the Commandments listed by priority?" In the above story, the people viewed the Commandments in the context of their own prevailing culture. Context arises out of the prevailing culture of the group or the industry to which the people belong. It is no secret that the prevailing cultural wind in the maritime industry is to be reactive. It was the sinking of the Titanic that gave birth to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention. Fast forward and history repeats itself, when the tanker Torrey Canyon (1967) ran aground, spilling its cargo of 120,000 tons of crude oil into the sea. It triggered a call for action by International Maritime Organization (IMO) and eventually resulted in the changes to the 1954 OILPOL rules, which later became MARPOL 73/78. The Exxon Valdez oil spill, which shook up the maritime industry and left its mark on the beaches of Alaska is a more recent reminder that only a major catastrophe generates sufficient support for much-needed change. In this case, the disaster resulted in the adoption of the International Safe Management Code (ISM) and amendments to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. Given the deep rooted tradition of being reactive, the challenge of shifting the center of gravity of our focus towards becoming a proactive industry is an interesting one. We need to abandon our conventional approach of arbitrarily attempting to create a culture in favor of a set of standards, procedures, templates, and strict instructions that offer something more genuine. We can let go of the VP of Environmental Compliance in favor of a VP of Environmental Awareness, a move that may signal more leadership and inspiration rather than enforcement and management. Cultural changes in a fast-paced economy can no longer be effective if driven through elaborate mission statements, thick operational manuals, and tireless consultants. These may govern the way our employees behave, but rarely will they change the way they think, which is the root cause of most of the problems we currently encounter relative to compliance. An interesting shift in the maritime corporate culture is emerging with a focus on a new area: social responsibility. Sven Mollekleiv, vice president of Relations and CSR at Det Norske Veritas (DNV) was quoted, stating that "For the cruise lines, CSR means, in effect, a triple and delivery of navigational information Doron Zilbershtein, Chief Visionary Officer, Art Anderson Associates. Contact: email@example.com for pilots and aircraft operators, and today is at the forefront of digital information solutions. C-Map is the world's leading bottom line: profitability, environmental protection and social equity." Companies such as AIDA Cruises; Costa Crociere; NYK line, the parent company to Crystal Cruises; and the Association of British Ports are just a few on the list of companies who are embracing social responsibility as their mainstay. Industry, and subsequently an organization's culture, is unique to each organization. It is similar to character. It changes over time as the organization transits from the inception phase into maturity. The good news is that it can be acquired through learning or cultivation, but it can only be changed through collective effort. Introducing new culture into an organization demands a change that can be fruitful, yet painful. For some, it's like a Tsunami: it begins with an outside source of disruption, increased anxiety and a sense of hopelessness as the first wave of changes hit the organization, creating a state of confusion and uncertainty in a relatively short period of time. At that moment, even swimming with the stream does not always guarantee success, let alone survival. For the flame of change to manifest sustainable progress, one need look no further to draw similarities than with the triangle of fire, which consists of heat, oxygen and combustible material. The heat represents that sense of urgency and relevancy to the people to make the change; the oxygen is the availability of resources and level of empowerment from the leadership and the combustible material is the level of involvement, interest and motivation of the employees in their individual job. Sounds intimidating? Well, don't hit the panic button yet. As Tom Peters once said, "If you're not confused, you're not paying attention." The good news is that these changes are predictable and manageable and there is knowledge and expertise to assist companies in making a smooth transition and adjustment to the new culture, which will ultimately be linked to individual and business performance and pave the way to an exciting working environment. provider of digital c a r t o g r a p h y a n d n a v i g a t i o n a l information for mariners around the globe. Together, and with the backing of Jeppesen's parent, The Boeing Company, we're delivering essential information solutions you need to win the game. The game has changed. Doron Zilbershtein, MBA, CQM serves as the Chief Visionary Officer at Art Anderson Associates. He is a Naval Architect, and his area of focus and interest is in Human and Organizational Development in the Maritime industry. He is a Senior Member of American Society for Quality and Co-Founder/Co-Chair of the Maritime Quality Culture Forum. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org February, 2007 · MarineNews · 17
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