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What costume does your organization wear for Halloween? 

Halloween is coming soon. Kids love to dress up in costumes for the trick or treat event. The question is usually: “What do you want to be for Halloween”?  Parents often buy or make those costumes to help make them happy. The variety is super wide, but it frequently mirrors things in the current pop culture.  

Organizations sometimes relax their rules and permit their people/individuals to express themselves through their costumes and clothing. But, what would an organizational costume look like? If you chose one, then would it be a fit? 

I’ll suggest that costumes can be a metaphor for what the organizational culture looks like. Those that know me, have seen that I love to use adjectives to describe cultures. Rarely are they all good or all bad. Sometimes they are intentional; other times they evolve over time. 

How does this list sound – passionate, chaotic, tactical, formal, and stuck?  In my mind, they aren’t seeking to change or willing to change. Maybe that’s good, but it comes with a cost. Usually, that means depending on “hero behavior” which can neither be scaled or sustained. 

How about this one – strategic, decisive, productive, collaborative, and consistent?  

I’m not making these lists up. If we can see it from the outside, employees can feel it and its impacts (even if they don’t put a label on it.). 

Here are a few questions:  

  • What does your organization’s Halloween costume look like? 
  • Is that just for Halloween or is it permanent?  
  • Is your “costume” intentional or unintentional?  
  • Does your organization measure its culture? How?   
  • When you get the results, what do you do with them? 
  • Has your organization identified the five (cultural) adjectives you’d like people to use? 
  • Does your culture contribute to positive organizational health? 
  • Do you align culture and strategy (they should “go to breakfast together”)? 

Let us know your thoughts about costumes and culture. 

Enjoy your Candy Corn! 

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