Monday, October 25, 2021


Culture assessment is multifaceted, and culture change is a long journey.

An organization with an excellent culture is arguably capable of giving great results in their competencies. The culture of an organization is an indicator of the competency parameters at their best.

Culture is a soft success factor, difficult to evaluate because the assessment of culture is not one dimension, finance-driven, but a multi-dimensional evaluation. Though it’s hard to measure culture directly, there are logical steps in evaluating its impact indirectly.

The value statement: Purpose, values and principles are part of corporate ideology/philosophy that shapes a unique culture and a corporate brand. Corporate value is a multi-dimensional concept; there are both "strategic" or "tactical" values, including employee value, customer value, supplier value, channel partner value, alliance partner value, managerial value, brand value, and societal value, etc. Culture is an amalgamation of people, their core values, socioeconomic realities, lifestyles, and education. Understanding value offers more added values because it helps you create a strong corporate brand.

Values aren't behaviors. Behaviors are reflections of what they truly value in any given situation in relation to what they say they value. By clarifying the value statement of the organization, business leaders can set the cultural tone which is manifested in the way people conduct meetings in the boardroom, the way people treat their employees, the solutions they offer to customers or the overall corporate brand. In fact, the corporate values management requires a close examination of all of the organization's vision, mission, purposes, strategy, culture, and leadership. While the business culture management needs to enhance clearly defined value proposition and enable strategy management to achieve business outcome.

Feedback management: Feedback is information gained from experience that can improve future performance. With a healthy feedback management cycle, you can build a culture of improvement by learning from constructive feedback and making reasonable adjustments on the way. Culture is a collective mindset, attitude and behaviors. The content of the feedback is oriented towards behavior, to make feedback more invaluable, try to understand the psychology behind those behaviors; uncover the attitude under the actions.

Negative feedback based on negative mentality or intention confuses people and makes a bad influence on culture because it drains energy or causes unnecessary pain. Also, feedback needs to be continuous, as close to real-time as possible, in control of the recipient and in a way the recipient can understand. Feedback does not focus on the past - it tells you what is happening so that you can adapt promptly. So collectively, strong feedback management builds a solid foundation to shape a culture of change and innovation.

Process of transparency: Transparency is important at many levels, to keep communication open, information fluid, process optimized, and structure loose, etc, for harnessing a high performance culture. Generally speaking, transparency enhances trust in the organization. You could supervise with control of every move. But to build trust, it is really important for teams to keep things transparent - be aware of how the whole process is going on, and what results have already been achieved.

Without transparency, everyone seems to walk in the dark, take guesswork, and cause conflicts. The effective way to transparency is through communicating, communicating and communicating. Transparency can help leaders tell a story of the journey from current state to future state, of improvements, of accomplishments, of enablement with business strategies, etc. It's definitely a great core competency to leverage, and an important factor to assess corporate culture.

Degrees of empowerment:
In a traditional company with a command and control style of management and bureaucratic culture, the degree of empowerment is low, employees are reluctantly functioning to get their work done without demonstrating an ownership mentality. To build a culture of creativity, the management needs to empower their people, trust them to follow their heart and mind to achieve more. Trust is a key component of empowerment. In the team setting, to empower is to give the team a means to shine. It is not about individuals, but how well the team works together. Give workgroups the authority to make changes to their work process and accept responsibility for decisions related to their actions.

The employee satisfaction is still low in the majority of organizations today. To achieve high performance and unleash talent potential, it is critical to empower talented employees to learn, grow, discover “who they are,” and become “who they want to be.” The organizations with the culture of empowerment will reap the benefits of knowledge workers who have the abundance of creativity and the amplified human capabilities. Empowerment implies, if not required, responsibility and accountability. We are in the transition from knowledge economy to creative economy, it is important that everyone now has expectations in a new way of working. It's also critical that those leading the transition make it clear that with empowerment comes responsibility, innovation, productivity, and more fun.

Employee engagement: Overall speaking, employee engagement is still very low in many organizations, making business performance suffer. If empowerment is the top-down effort to refresh organizational culture; then the bottom-up engagement of personnel helps to build up an open working environment in which knowledge professionals feel comfortable to express their opinions, share thoughts, and discover alternative ways to do things. It’s about employees willing to give discretionary effort, want to stay, and are always looking for ways to improve individual and team performance.

A culture of engagement can be developed through management engaging in developing their employees interactively. It is all about creating a strong relationship, understanding, reflecting, and driving performance. It is through proper engagement that you can build trust, to help drive performance and continuous improvement. Of course, the employee has to do his or her part of having the right attitude, skills, and willingness to participate in the development process, develop their natural talent and unique competency to unlock their performance for today and tomorrow.

Culture assessment is multifaceted, and culture change is a long journey. Changing the culture starts at the mindset level, as you can’t impose the desired culture to your organizations or the societies, surely you can apply a clear logic to diagnose and fix culture related problems. A comprehensive cultural assessment enables the manager to diagnose the true cultural concerns as well as what could be the prescriptive recipe to fix it, or redesign a culture model for improving the organizational maturity.


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