eveloping the right culture presents a unique challenge for management teams. While its importance is rarely disputed, efforts are often hampered by the methods used to assess it.
- The challenge of measurement
- A common language of behaviour
- Connecting behaviours to outcomes
- Providing your own pathway for change
Regulatory, financial, and societal issues are driving the contemporary emphasis on organizational culture.
The cultural scandals that have rocked particular businesses or industries are all too well known to us. Regulators are paying more attention to how organizations are working to make sure their culture aligns with their mission, values, and strategy. Since the market has begun to value businesses that provide sustainable performance with high Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) ratings, the regulatory focus has expanded. That project’s foundation is organizational culture.
A larger environment for social development is there as well.
As a result of COVID-19, the workplace has undergone a profound, enduring alteration. Keep in mind the era before ZOOM and MS Teams, when meetings weren’t subject to interruptions. by youngsters, canines, and deliveries. Organizations are being forced to adapt in new ways as a result of our changing work experiences and expectations. A culture’s future viability may not depend on what kept it alive in the past.
The war for talent, shifting cultural norms about inclusion, diversity, and equality, as well as a workforce with a mix of generations, should also be considered.
All of these issues make establishing a positive organizational culture a crucial subject for management teams and their boards.
The measuring problem
Despite these demands, there has been some success in trying to evaluate culture to the point where it can be handled just as well as other strategic levers.
A variety of lagging indicators are triangulated in the conventional manner. Although they are easily recorded on a dashboard, these dashboards are typically not designed for the purpose and frequently overlook the reality that this is a complicated system with several inputs and effects.
Without factual proof, intuition and assumption are very important in making a diagnosis. The prescription is increasingly broad-based the more hazy the diagnosis. A pricey transformative cultural change effort is sometimes referred to be “the Aspirin of culture change.”
An excessive dependence on already-in-use, improperly designed instruments like sentiment surveys is at the root of this measuring difficulty. Every organization should regularly poll its employees to gauge their attitudes, but interpreting this information as a stand-in for culture may be difficult.
The first is response bias, which occurs when someone answers a survey knowing the response that the organization wants to hear. This is especially true in some cultures. Second, even if it were a genuine emotion, does it reflect what you would actually do in a certain circumstance?
To give you an example, when I used to travel frequently, there were several airlines I vowed “I just wouldn’t travel on ever again!” I would gladly make my mark if I were asked to check the people I like or don’t like in a survey today. How I felt then probably won’t matter when I want to book a flight later today and have to choose between paying £30 or £300. Using sentiment analysis, you may determine how you felt yesterday. It doesn’t foretell your actions for tomorrow.
While integrating sentiment data with qualitative insights and important outcomes can enhance the overall picture, it frequently only helps to increase complexity and the dependence on assumptions. For a problem that is becoming worse Please, can we be a little more specific? Is there an alternative?
a common behavioral language
The most obvious way in which culture is expressed is via behavior, which both shapes and is reinforced by culture. I often look back on such minor incidents when I consider the cultures I’ve experienced. When I worked for company Y or when I worked for business X, was it more or less probable that I would cc others on emails? What did you do over the weekend? was typically the first question we asked each other while I was a member of Team A. I was a member of Team B, and we began by going over the agenda. They all provide information about the environment in which we live out our professional lives.
Each of us has unique behavioral tendencies. Others choose to work alone in search of value in their individual effort, while others of us value working by cooperating in a team and adore the communal endeavor. Others choose to place more emphasis on the people involved in producing goals. Some people are intensely task-focused and results-focused.
These preferences are ALSO present in the cultures where we work. We see it in the actions of individuals close to us and in the principles upheld by the company. Now THAT is culture. Our work at iPsychTec has focused on creating a framework that can compare and characterize both individual and organizational behavior.
The key to unlocking the cultural code is to change the measurement’s focus to a better understanding of their connection.
linking behavior to results
We have all likely encountered what we consider to be “good” and “bad,” but what do these cultures actually stand for?
Without considering “why,” there is little value in debating what you want your culture to be. Do you strive to be more creative, inclusive, or risk-aware? Which of these behaviors drives the outcomes we want, and vice versa, is the question every culture evaluation should be posing.
By tying behavior at the individual and organizational levels to those consequences and doing so at scale, developments in behavioral science and data analytics have made this feasible.
We may examine the behaviors (both individual and organizational) that lead to certain results or we can examine which particular behaviors (values or cultural aspirations) lead to certain outcomes.
This creates fresh opportunities for planning actions in a way that is significantly more effective.
Three behaviors, according to research iPsychTec conducted with one customer, were key contributors to inclusion. Regression analysis revealed that those colleagues were (exactly) 502x more likely to feel like a valued team member than those who weren’t exhibiting such behaviors in the organization.The organization had not recognized these behaviors
establishing your own route to change
We may examine various correlations between behaviors and results to determine the optimal course for change by developing a common vocabulary of behavior and connecting it to outcomes.
One of our clients sought to increase trust, create a more psychologically secure environment so that colleagues could participate and speak out, and improve their overall wellbeing. We found 5 behaviors that supported these results, but where do we begin?
Using this path analysis, we were able to pinpoint two behaviors that would increase psychological safety after the three behaviors that would increase trust had been enhanced. The important thing to remember is that by using this tiered technique, people would likewise obtain their desired level of wellness without spending any further money on any significant program.
Every culture is distinct, has a distinct history, and has certain difficulties. Even if they are aiming for the same result, the methods used by each person differ. It explains why ‘cookie-cutter’ approaches to culture transformation frequently fall short. And while though everything ultimately comes down to human interactions and behavior, statistics and behavioral science are assisting us in uncovering some intriguing solutions.
WHO THE AUTHOR IS
At iPsychTec, Adam Smith manages culture and behavioral insights.
He is an expert in organizational development with an emphasis on teamwork, communication, leadership development, and team culture and behavioral insights.
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With the use of the CultureScope tool from iPsychTec, organizations may use behavioral diagnostic and predictive analytical tools to further their goals. This tool combines the best aspects of scientific and practical research. It is a novel, empirically supported technique of measuring behavior and culture.
It measures the culture of an organization using ground-breaking diagnostics and is based on the largest behavioral research study ever conducted over a 7-year period. Predictive analytics, actionable insights, and a road map are provided to drive the organization forward, reducing risk, improving performance, and strengthening resilience by assessing individual and organizational behaviors (how do I behave and what do I observe around me) and linking these with organizations’ outcomes.