Bob Sutton's Blog has a post about new employees' potential to see culture for what it is. The post talks about how new comers see the organization in a different way than people who have been there a long time.I wonder if we can find a way to be in a culture, but not completely immersed (or lose the ability to see it for what it is) so we can keep the fresh eyes we need to ask questions and grow.
Reading this post reminded me of my first few weeks in my current role. I can remember feeling more socially awkward than usual and not understanding what social cues caused the little groups of people to disperse after talking around the coffee machine. It didn't seem to follow the ordinary social rules. The funny part is, these simple situations were sometimes difficult to express and question to others. It was such a part of the day-to-day that people had trouble noticing that it was different.
So if we eventually become part of organizational culture, how can we step out of our day-to-day to honestly assess the culture of our team or department? How can people who have experience with an organization catch glimpses of an organization with "fresh eyes"? How can we harness the questions of newcomers to assess culture?