February 22, 2018
Growth is the first of 12 Dimensions of Culture that KnowledgeWorkx uses to map out the intercultural terrain. If you haven’t already, you should read our article introducing the 12 Dimensions here.
Defining the way you develop your organization.
Material Growth vs. Personal Growth
We’ve heard about the cliché of the HR manager who cares about people and the Technology manager who cares about systems and processes. We might even have seen the cliché breaker: the HR manager who loves systems and processes and the IT manager who thinks about people first. But have we ever thought of this difference in perspective as a part of culture?
Material vs. Personal growth is one of the basic questions that anyone developing an organization has to face, and knowing where people stand on it is key to understanding your colleagues and the organizational dynamics that surround you.
When you look at cultural dynamics, you will find that some people have a more personal, people oriented growth preference, and others will have a more material or infrastructure-oriented growth preference. This translates into how they prioritize resource allocation and what they get passionate about. If your boss is more people-oriented in his or her growth, he or she will invest in the people side of the equation. More material-oriented in growth, and he or she will invest in materials and infrastructure.
The Chicken or the Egg? Both have to exist for a healthy organization
Investing in personal or material growth can have different faces. The command, “You need to learn how to use this computer program,” could be the result of a material-oriented IT infrastructure drive. Or it could be the result of a people-focused motivator survey which concludes that more IT infrastructure is needed in order to empower your people.
These different motivators in terms of why people want to invest and how they administer their budget can result in challenges. A people-oriented boss might neglect infrastructure, and a material-oriented boss might create infrastructure without ensuring it is needed, or used effectively.
It is important to keep in mind that every organization needs to invest in both the people side and the material side of the equation. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you have people on your team in strategy, planning, and prioritization who appreciate both.
By choosing your team carefully, and giving people permission to challenge allocation of resources in a positive way, you can ensure that both sides of the equation get the resources they need.
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