Like it or not, the #MeToo movement has changed everything. Company executives can no longer leave their culture to chance or they may find their company featured in the news in the wrong way. Creating a positive, responsible culture that holds all team members accountable to the company’s values and standards of conduct is the best prevention of the abuses of power revealed by the #MeToo movement. In today’s atmosphere, all leaders must evaluate their organization’s culture and identify areas of vulnerability and potential problems. And evaluating your culture will also identify the strengths of your culture, from which you can build an even better one.
The good news is that you can objectively measure your company’s culture. The bad news is that not all so-called culture assessments truly measure it. Some of these assessments that purport to evaluate organizational culture are instead measuring the climate of the organization. To understand this, let’s start with definitions of organizational culture and organizational climate to help make this distinction.
Organizational Culture is a combination of values, beliefs, and behavioral norms (meaning the way a team member must behave to fit in). Values and beliefs are hard to measure. You may think that values are easy to perceive – after all, most companies have their values posted on the wall! To the contrary, what we are referencing are not the values that are declared but the actual values that are exemplified by the actions of the leaders and team members. Although most organizations espouse positive values, the way people actually behave can exemplify a different set of values. For example, a company may declare integrity to be a core value, but the best sales people pad their expense reports with a few personal purchases while management turns a blind eye. Beliefs, though truly invisible, are the foundation of any culture. An example of an organizational belief is “money is scarce, so we can’t take any risks with our money”. Certainly, actions can refer to beliefs, but it is very difficult to tease out the underlying beliefs of a company.
Click here to read another article by Kristin Robertson,
Successfully Navigating Company Culture,
which has been published in Choice Magazine
Yes, culture is challenging to measure. However, organizational climate, a term that is often confused with culture, is more easily assessed. Climate has to do with employee’s perceptions, attitudes, feelings and observations. Examples of climate measurements include employee job satisfaction surveys, employee net promoter scores (ENPS), engagement assessments, ratings of benefits and compensation, and surveys on ethical behavior. These opinion polls are very helpful; indeed, they provide a map for the journey towards a better culture. But don’t be confused into thinking they are measuring culture.
How important is it to measure culture? Can’t we just measure organizational climate and get the same answers? Research shows that culture affects both the profitability of a company and the happiness of its employees, so, yes, it is important to measure culture. Culture endures and changes slowly, while organizational climate can change daily according to the opinions of your team members. Organizational climate surveys are fleeting glimpses of your people’s reactions to the latest company events. To know what kind of culture you have and if your change initiatives are making a difference, you need to measure your organizational culture. Benchmark your culture at first, then re-assess at yearly intervals to see how it is changing.
One of the best ways to grow a vibrant company culture
is to develop your leaders through group coaching.
Group coaching holds leaders accountable to behavior
change and is successful in breaking down
silos within an organization
At Brio Leadership, we offer a pair of instruments to measure both culture and climate. They are called the Organizational Culture Inventory (OCI) and the Organizational Effectiveness Inventory (OEI), created by Human Synergistics, a world-renowned company that specializes in measuring the effectiveness of an organization’s culture. Human Synergistics’s culture inventory asks participants to rate how often they observe certain behaviors that are needed to “fit in and meet expectations” within their organization. The instrument measures 12 behavioral types, which are grouped into three categories: Constructive styles, Passive/Defensive styles and Aggressive/Defensive styles. As you can imagine, higher ratings in the constructive styles are generally better but depending on the industry and the individual company, it may be valid to insist on some defensive behavioral styles. For example, a financial services company will need to comply with SEC regulations, so some conventional/conforming behaviors will be needed in the culture. A picture of a current culture versus the ideal culture, using the OCI, might look like this:
It’s exciting to see your culture measured so vividly in colors and styles, and to see the desired or ideal culture mapped out. We can help you map the journey between the current culture, on the left, to your ideal, desired culture, on the right.
Would you like to measure your current culture and identify your desired culture? Message Brio Leadership here to learn more, or enroll in our upcoming webinar on You Must Evaluate your Culture in the #MeToo Era! on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at 2:00 pm CDT.
Click Here to Register for Brio Leadership's Webinar,
You Must Evaluate your Culture in the #MeToo Era!
Recent articles of interest from our blog:
Kristin Robertson is the Happy Mondays Coach! She is also CEO of Brio Leadership, a consulting and coaching firm that ensures your employees love to go to work on Monday morning. As a Company Culture Consultant and Executive Coach, Kristin conducts company culture audits, offers executive and group coaching to transform a culture. She is the author of Your Company Culture Ecosystem, available on Amazon, and the founder of the Happy Mondays Club.
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