Organisational Culture :How do you Diagnose your workplace Culture?
Office culture can be assessed in 2 primary ways:
1. Do a structured survey/assessment including all the stakeholders.
2) Start to have courageous open-heart conversations within an Appreciative Inquiry Framework
Depending upon the existing culture dynamics, leadership may not be in a position to discover the true culture. To accurately check the heartbeat of your team/company; to discover the rules and perceptions that influence the existing office culture, is to engage in informal conversations with all employees on a trusting and full disclosure basis.
To accurately take the pulse of the organization, these conversations need to be structured around the sub “heartbeat” creators and engagement aspects that support greater happiness at work. productivity improvement and sustained peak performance.
Beware of believing you can get the truth from your staff, if you don’t have the depth of relationship to support truth telling and full disclosure. Most companies just don’t have this kind of space. yet! It is wiser to employ an external facilitator, to lead the Appreciative Inquiry process.
Culture Discovering Focal Points
1. Is your work really meaningful to yourself?
We know from extensive research around effective teamworking, engagement and the The Science of Happiness at WorkTM, work and tasks need to be meaningful and purposeful in order to create engagement , satisfaction and happiness at work . A positive, constructive, healthy, supportive cultures provides members with common vision, shared-meaning and direct connection to a higher purpose.
Lack of: Common Vision and share meaning contributes to:
- Unhappy, unproductive, demotivated staff, not engaged and not working to peak potential
- People keeping their discretionary effort for themselves…
- Decision making driven by crisis, politics and not with the vision and mission in mind
2. What is the company’s purpose?
Employees should have a quick and simple answer to this question. They need to embody the purpose of the organization for the company to thrive. This is not a matter of reading the Vision and Mission from a wall plaque, but internalizing the purpose and aligning it with personal vision and mission.
Confusion about the company’s purpose leads to:
- Unclear about what we are trying to accomplish
- Energy of organization continually declining
- Inefficient work processes
3. Autonomy: Authority to make decisions and to take action?
A productive, flexible, fast moving culture needs to have empowered people. The traditional company have a military styled hierarchy, command-and-control structure. Success in today’s economy requires flexibility, rapid decision making, and co-creation co-operation with customers, prospect and partners.
Lack of autonomy leads to a “not my job” mentality and:
- No personal accountability or responsibility
- Slow time to market with new products
- Lack of innovation
4. Opportunity: Would you leave for the opportunity to start at a lower level of a more entrepreneurial company?
A culture needs to sustain its entrepreneurial innovation energy. When companies grow beyond the point where the leaders know everyone by their first name, the natural inclination is to start putting a bureaucracy in place, implementing procedures, and putting in some controls. Yes, the company will benefit from standardized processes and automation of standard procedures.
But, putting in explicit controls on people often drives out the most innovative, entrepreneurial contributors that are critical to the success of a company.
Low entrepreneurial energy causes:
- Suffocation of the entrepreneurial culture.
- Reduces creativity.
- Drive out the key innovators to new start-up opportunities.
5. Walking our talk?
There is often great discrepancy between “walk” and “talk”. Often company leaders have not kept their own word and not walked their own talk. This send clear messages of the prevailing culture 🙂 Not walking -the-talk leads to wastages, lack of credibility and laed on empty conversations and:
- Formal work processes not followed
- Deadlines extended or missed
- Long product/service introduction cycles
6. EQ Allowed – Safe to show intelligent emotions at work?
Most people are human. Unless they are “bean-counters” or IT programmers… They are not machines. Motivation is the root of emotions and decision. Most decisions in business and life are made based upon a person’s emotions or emotional state. A person cannot be separated from his or her emotions. A person working with passion achieves so much more than someone working on the clock to get a paycheck. How can people be passionate about their work if they cannot have any emotions?
When Emotions and passions prohibited:
- Leaders cannot recognize and adjust the mood of an organization
- People will express their emotions inappropriately, and often destructively
- An organizational mood of frustration, anger, or apathy
7. Do you have a community of people in the company that support your efforts?
Healthy corporate cultures offer their employees a community of people that support each other as they learn and grow. As we spend more and more time at work, we are looking to our work environments to provide community that we used to get elsewhere. The number one cause for people either liking or disliking their jobs (and staying in them) is their relationship with their direct supervisor.
Lack of community leads to:
- High attrition rates
- Poor communication
- Dissatisfied employees, customers, and partners
8. Are your contributions valued?
People are not interchangeable. They are unique individuals – each with a gift to share with the company. If people are blindly shuffled through departments or into job descriptions, they will lose their creativity and tend towards “group think”.
When people are viewed as “widgets or resources” this leads to:
- Group Think
- Low creativity
- Organizational mood of low energy and resignation.
9. Do you trust the leaders of the company?
It is virtually impossible to work productively with people that you do not trust. If employees do not trust the leadership of your organization, they will not be comfortable being their authentic selves and will expend tremendous energy putting on game faces every day.
Lack of trust leads to:
- Poor communication with employees, customers, and partners.
- Organizational mood of low energy and resignation.
- Difficult to attract and retain good people.
10. Can you say “I don’t know”?
If your culture has an invisible rule that says “never admit you don’t know something”, then no learning or innovation can take place within your company.
Inability to say “I don’t know” leads to:
- Low rate of innovation
- Errors in judgment and operations
- Company overtaken by innovative competitor
- Using these questions to structure frequent conversations will help the leaders of an organization to keep their fingers on the pulse of the company.
For talks, workshops and coaching contact Tony dovale on 083-447-6300