Sunday, December 27, 2015

“Digital Master” Holiday Intense Tuning Chap IV: How to Assess your Organization’s DNA?

The cultural transformation cannot be mandated--it must evolve.

There are many culture metaphors, such as culture is like soil, the glue, the fabric or the mixing colors of paint, and the DNA of the business. The word “culture” stems from a Latin root that means the tilling of the soil. A company’s culture helps define what a company is like - what it means to be part of the organization; how to act as a team or teams; and what others in the company believe and strive for, and even how the outsiders see the company - the business brand. So in order to optimize or rebuild a strong digital culture, the organization first needs to know how to assess its organization’s DNA more objectively and systematically via the set of questionnaires.

Q1: What’s your Organization’s DNA or Personality, and how do you Read it?
A: An organization’s culture is expressed or visible from the collective mindsets and attitudes: There are several factors that form an organization's culture, the most critical one is how decision-making process at various levels within an organization affects all other factors that form the culture over a period of time. An organization's culture is visible from the collective attitudes - how employees behave at the workplace with co-workers, interaction with customers, adapt technological changes and accept challenges and present creativity, show accountability, and bring wisdom to the organization etc. In all the conversations about culture, we need to remember that it is the policies, procedures, rewards, and retributions that drive behavior and it is the employee behavior that expresses "culture."

Q2: What are Measures on Culture?
A: It is important to do researching and validating a culture assessment instrument that measures culture from different perspectives; such as cultural constructs or dimensions of culture and cultural styles. The key issue is that culture is always a perception and to obtain an insight into this perception, you need to obtain a number of responses. Only when a broad sample has been obtained can some forms of extrapolation to the group be considered. Culture is difficult to "measure" because the measurement of culture is not only one dimension such as financial or a technical point, it’s a multi-dimensional evaluation. Though it’s hard to measure culture directly, there are logical steps in evaluating its impact indirectly. Culture can also be measured and managed against some models of the desired culture.

Q3. Can you Impose the Culture of Innovation?
A: The cultural transformation may be the desired outcome, but it cannot be mandated--it must evolve: Engaging in the existing practices, Introducing the changes and reinforcing the changes. It requires shared vision plus innovative, committed and passionate leadership and a commitment to alignment and integration of people, process, practices, and technology across the enterprise, including customer and vendor engagement. So culture is a collective mindset, attitude, habit, and business brand. You cannot impose your own thoughts or habit on someone else instantly, however, you can always inspire, influence, and innovate a digital culture which catalyzes business strategy execution and accelerates digital transformation.

Q4: Can Culture be Changed on Purpose?
A: An organization’s culture is extremely difficult to change. Getting all employees on the same line is always difficult because too many mindsets are not willing to adapt and accept the reason to change the existing culture. Most want to stay in their established comfort zone. Much effort has gone into changing the culture in organizations. For decades, practitioners have been trying various ways and means to achieve culture change. But still, culture is changeable with the right strategy and methodology. To systematically change a culture takes time, vision, and persistence by top leaders and the collaboration of employees, as well as the talent/performance process/structure putting in place to make culture change sustainable.

Q5: What are inextricable relationships between strategy, culture, and execution?
A:  Today companies work more on the execution, and many said business is 30% planning and 70% execution. But culture is really the leader. A great culture can support a weak strategy, but a weak culture cannot support a great strategy. Culture is one of the main factors that affect implementation of strategies.  Thus, it is important to “harden” the soft business elements such as culture, and add a layer to your strategy map describes the behaviors that are valued and encouraged, and that is critical to enabling the intent of the strategy, and you make it easier for people to understand how they can change or contribute to business growth via their daily behaviors and activities.

Whether at either organizational or societal scope, culture is complex and often invisible. Culture assessment is tough, but it is worth the effort because innovative and adaptive cultures tend to catalyze higher business performance compared to those with weak or nonadaptive culture. And it is the pathway to change, digital transformation and ultimate business success.

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