“It is the emotional nature of culture that renders it capable of becoming your worst nightmare or your most sustainable competitive advantage” - Coffman & Sorensen
It is being increasingly acknowledged that culture is the foundation for all that happens in, and issues from, strong, constructive, fully human, and psychologically strong organisations. It is the culture or character of an organisation that enables its coping, resilience, learning prowess, energy, successes, results and sustainability. It is the culture of an organisation that provides an authentic sense of purpose, meaning and belonging to its members; that attracts employees, customers and stakeholders; that upholds its values, behaviours and reputation.
The HR Research Institute (HR.com) researched over 500 respondents from all sectors (mainly USA-based) and have released their 2018/ 2019 report. There are 5 major findings and 11 important takeaways. Here they are, together with our comments on how
shows a way forward for go-ahead organisations. The Culturescan process enables and leverages an organisations latent ability to address and enhance its philosophy, principles, true values, underlying assumptions, competence, behaviour norms, processes and practices across a wide range of topics:
(Keys to nurturing a performance-based culture)
Organizations are being thrust into the cauldron of radical resource and societal threats, accelerating technology change, shifting consumer demands, increasing activism in many areas, emerging new competency requirements, ever-changing governance and compliance issues, a bigger array of opportunity areas than have existed previously …
The 11 takeaways from the HR Research Institute report make even more sense in this context
Make culture a strategic priority
CultureScan allows you to move beyond strategy by equipping you with a process that drives execution and allows for prioritisation and appropriate focus on specific cultural elements in “real time”
Do not assume “one culture” throughout the organization
CultureScan offers analyses, interpretations and alternative narratives across a wide range of breakdowns – division, department, gender, ethnicity, generation, length of experience with organisation, level …. Whatever is deemed appropriate by the user-organisation
Measure and assess culture more often
The Culturescan process is quick and easy - from set-up, analyses, reporting ….
Within the HR function, consider creating a team that uses data and analytics to learn about the culture and subcultures of the organization
Culturescan is a good way to start. Adding (unnecessarily?) sophisticated analytics is a route that needs careful consideration within every organization, and is not always a panacea
Define, describe and communicate the key aspects of your culture
CultureScan facilitates this exercise for both existing and desired-future culture, and related aspects such as purpose, values
Consider creating a learning environment that makes “diversity of thought” a reality.
(Asking an unwise question or conveying an unconventional idea can be frowned on, or, worse yet, cost an individual a promotion or leadership opportunity.
Diversity of thought is about breaking down any potential barriers in your culture so every employee feels valued for their differences. It is all about respect for the individual and their opinions, which, over time, fosters an environment of trust. Moreover, diversity of thought affords employees opportunities to learn from each other and brings about higher levels or productivity (and innovation) as people become more engaged with one another and the organization at large).
Psychological safety, harnessing diversity, respect, trust, non-violent communication, bonding and engagement are all hallmarks of the CultureScan: conversations that count process
Provide appropriate training to managers, and make employees more comfortable talking about cultural differences.
Subtle ‘training’ takes place during the CultureScan process rendering the need for additional training doubtful in general. However, the process does cause specific, appropriate coaching and mentoring needs to emerge under certain circumstances. Conversations, immersion material, anecdote circle events that form part of topics like Diversity, Masks, Psychic Prisons facilitate the addressing of overt and unconscious biases.
Expect challenges and have a game plan.
This is built into the process, which allows deliberation on and auctioning of challenges and opportunities as they emerge.
Adopt/refine a recognition and rewards program to reinforce values and behaviors
We caution against the natural tendency to always control, over-measure, assess, appraise, punish and reward in order to get desired outcomes. Oftentimes this is what stifles employee ownership, commitment and enthusiastic engagement. Each organization merits a fit-for-purpose approach.
Make culture part of the hiring process
Again, job descriptions, use of psychometric evaluations, screening and appointment/ selection criteria (and their application in a context where unconscious biases may be present) are organization-specific in our view. Innovative and alternative hiring, on-boarding and ‘assimilation’ processes deserve consideration. But certainly, cultural attributes, belief and value systems, motives are as important as experience, skills and knowledge.
Consider interest groups that reinforce culture and keep diversity top of mind
(Corporate culture is more successful when everyone in the organization has a chance to contribute. Culture prioritizations are also important (for example social purpose, diversity, project-based organization, coaching, learning … )
Expertise Available On Demand From Culturescan as
Organisations Push Through and Execute the
Strategies, Plans and Decisions that Flow Out of the
During the execution phase, after the survey, anecdote circle and immersion work is completed and momentum developed, clients sometimes require our help in these areas:
Governance breaking the shackles of compliance - governance to develop mastery in areas such as opportunity – governance
bridging governance gaps between Boards/ Leadership/ Management/ Employees/ Other Stakeholders
Operations Training, formulating meaningful, shared purpose and values
Project Activities frameworks that facilitate the development of virtues and mature ethics, and result in reputational benefit
ensuring psychologically safe workplaces
developing mind-sets and plans for tackling carbon – footprint reduction, community engagement, encouraging gentle, reputation-building activism
adopting story, imagery, symbol, metaphor in applications throughout the organisation, including branding, data deployment competence, team-building, sense-making, change and transition …
setting up knowledge capture, storage, access and wise application
enhancing problem-solving, decision-making, sense-making and preparation skills and practices to accompany agile operations
developing practices to successfully incorporate strategy execution, communal leadership into the daily life of the organisation
Innovation preparing for the 4th Industrial Revolution
conducting scenario - formation as contexts for future-fit and focused innovation
advancing customer service through superior processes, technologies, people development, measures (organisations and contact centres)
Coaching & Individual whole person coaching frameworks (physical well- Development being, cognitive, mindfulness, emotional, social and
fully-human learning and improvement)
overcoming unconscious biases, expanding belief bubbles, non-dualistic thinking, forging valuable connection inside and outside the organisation
motivational fingerprinting (personal sense of purpose)
improving and managing personal resilience to change, stress and trauma
retreating to do reflective inner work, work on personal integration and balancing (leaders and others)
coaching performance in task, relating, agility
Communication developing deep listening skills for customer-facing employees and within the organisation
establishing a culture of nonviolent yet assertive communication, including social-contracting and conflict prevention and resolution skills