Creating a Culture of Significance … One Step at a Time

“Culture evolves in one of two ways: by design … or by benign neglect.” – Doug Lipp 

Far too many organizations struggle to create—much less sustain—their culture.

Indications of a dysfunctional culture are usually crystal clear … if only one’s eyes and ears are open. 

Although a thorough organizational culture assessment can be quite complex, my advice to clients is to start the journey with baby steps, (and below are two steps I highly recommend); 

  • Don’t start by wordsmithing a new set of values
  • Do start by identifying behaviors exhibited by employees, (from C-suite, to front line) that either support your stated values, or undermine your values. After all, behaviors are the most accurate barometer of organizational health;  
  • Which behaviors positively reflect your stated values? How are they supported?  
  • Which behaviors are disruptive, or contrary to your stated values? How and why are these behaviors allowed?  

Below is a basic outline of questions I pose to clients at the outset of an organizational culture needs assessment.  Remember, starting with baby steps—and focusing on behaviors—is the key. 

Organizational Culture Assessment – Interview Questions

How would you describe the culture of your organization?

Positive: A) Innovative? B) Supportive? C) Trusting?

 (How is each demonstrated via behavioral examples?)

Needs Help: A) Stuck in a Rut? B) Everyone is on their own? C) Lacking trust?

(How is each demonstrated via behavioral examples?)

How does the current culture of the organization demonstrate excellence in:

  1. Employee Recruitment, Interviewing? If not, why?
  2. Employee Onboarding (new-hire training). If not, why?
  3. Ongoing Employee Development (for all levels). If not, why?

How does the current culture of the organization demonstrate valuing employee engagement?

  1. Employees’ opinions are sought out, acted upon. How? At what frequency? 

What are the most urgent issues to address for improving:

  1. Staff engagement, morale, loyalty?
  2. Customer/Client/Patient experience and loyalty? 

In the next year, what actions will you take to reach excellence in customer experience and staff engagement?

  • Once reached, how will you sustain the momentum of excellence?
  • Who is in charge of your organizational culture? Who else needs to be involved?

Remember, taking baby steps and focusing on behaviors are vital. In closing, below is a powerful quote that beautifully condenses the definition of organizational culture:

“Culture is what people do, every day, without being constantly told”

What are your people doing every day?