The Origin of UGRs

UGRs – ‘Unwritten Ground Rules’ – are a unique way of thinking about and managing an organisation’s culture. They inflict a great deal of pressure in terms of how people should behave. But how do they start?

Much of the discussion on UGRs in our book (UGRs: Cracking the Corporate Culture Code) and in this newsletter, focuses on existing UGRs in teams and entire organisations. But how do they start? How are UGRs created?

One way to consider this is by looking at a scenario that involves the creation of a new organisation.

Let’s say that a group of half a dozen people have come together to create a new company.

These people come together bound by ties that might be based on common desires and goals (e.g. we like working together and see a need for this service or product), or by common desires and skills recognition (e.g. we see the need for this service or product and need each other for our unique expertise).

UGRs will quickly emerge soon after the group meetings begin. These will surface as patterns of behaviour emerge for e.g. ‘around here, people genuinely listen to each other’, or the converse!

The power sharing / power struggles will also create UGRs for e.g. ‘around here, people aren’t interested in the welfare of the company, they’re only looking after themselves.’

UGRs are peoples’ perceptions of ‘this is the way we do things around here’, so as soon as behavioural patterns can be identified, UGRs will emerge.

They will also be created when people have been able to compare the spoken word and actions – and whether there is alignment between the two!