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The 12 Key Assessment Points of Organizational Culture Featured

Organizational Culture is measured by 12 Key Assessment Points:

  • What we do/make/sell
  • Why we do/make/sell what we do/make/sell
  • How we do/make/sell what we do/make/sell
  • How we go to market
  • How we participate in the market
  • Who our customers are
  • How we treat our customers
  • How we treat our environment
  • The condition of our workplace
  • The condition of our workforce
  • How we treat our employees
  • How we treat ourselves

Combined, these key assessment points are the measuring stick for evaluating every Organizational Culture’s strength, agility, and sustainability. Modifications to any/each of these key points is what shapes and determines changes to the culture... whether or not the organization is aware of the changes. For an organization needing to effectively and efficiently modify their culture, they must first know how to measure each of these key assessment points; design a specific plan to bring these modifications about; and to test and implement their Organizational Culture’s modification plan.

What we do/make/sell

Every organization in every sector and industry does, makes, or sells something. Whether it is a church, a college/university, a fast-food restaurant, or a government agency. No organization operates solely for its own existence without interacting externally. What an organization does, makes, sells, etc. is the foundation of their existence. Otherwise, how or why would they exist? In any organization, the closer we get to the founder or the originator of their core products/services, the more easily we can see the excitement and passion that created it. Don’t we wish every employee shared that same level of excitement and passion.

So how does what we do impact our organization’s culture? It’s because most people have jobs they enjoy at some level for some reason(s). Generally, the more aware an employee is of their organizations’ history, products and services, the more they understand why they chose to work there. While some people might say the only reason they work where they do is for a paycheck, the majority really believe in what the organization does and the products/services they provide. Most employees are aware of its organization’s products/services, however, several have likely forgotten the difference they make in people’s lives. That their products/services improve people’s lives.

If they have forgotten the value their company brings to so many other lives, it’s time for a refresher – not just what their organization does/makes/sells – but how they are a part of making other people’s lives better. After all, who doesn’t want to know their hard work and dedication is part of a much bigger legacy?

Why we do/make/sell what we do/make/sell

The one thing that precedes what an organization does, makes, or sells is why they do it. Of all the questions that can be asked of and answered by an organization (who, what, when, where, and how) the “why” question is the only one of them all that demands an explanation. So, what is the organization’s explanation to its employees as to why they got into the business they’re in? If it’s a new business, the explanation should be readily available from the source – the founder(s). If it is a multi-generation business, today’s explanation shouldn’t be much different than it’s original founder(s) started with.

Why an organization does what it does is important to its culture is not only because of its foundational origins, but because everyone wants to have a purpose in life… even if they only find their purpose at work. By regularly explaining and discussing it’s why to and among its employees, an organization sets its roots in the deep, fertile soil of the original idea that created it. Why an organization came into existence is usually an intimate story of creation and innovation. By sharing its intimate beginnings, the organization is proudly demonstrating its heritage by including its employees in their story. Employees want to feel like part of that story – that legacy. Why would an organization not share its why?

How we do/make/sell what we do/make/sell

Organizations that give great thought to how their products are made and sold are generally more competitive and sustainable. Manufacturing and selling products requires consideration of using the safest, highest quality materials available. It is also important that the company put a great emphasis on the safety of its manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, and sales outlet/channel facilities. Likewise, an organization that sells non-tangibles (consulting, software, cloud-based services, etc.) must be proactive and preemptive to potential collateral, unintended harm that might come by delivering them to the customer. In other words, regardless the sector or industry, the organization must account for a multi-layer contingency plan to prevent or mitigate any such inconvenience or harm caused the customer.

By maintaining this proactive strategy and conscientiousness of the possible ancillary impact of their products to the community, other industries, and the environment, organizations can conduct their day-to-day business with the confidence of being a responsible steward. Every employee in the organization benefits from this approach and gleans great satisfaction from being a contributing part of it every day.

How we go to market

When an organization’s products/services arrive at and enter the market place, it is their outward behavior that draws the attention of others most. Specifically, how the organization holds itself out to the public (consuming or not) becomes its most critical measuring stick. If the organization is delivering what it promises, its employees will enjoy the fruit of that reputation.

Likewise, if the organization is over-promising and under-delivering – or worse, misrepresenting their abilities/capabilities – their employees will suffer the unforgiving wrath of that reputation. Either way, the front line employees will feel the organization’s public reputation first, most frequently, and most viscerally than anyone else.

The employees’ perceptions of the organization’s external reputation directly impact how they see the rest of the organization and the organization as a whole. These employee perceptions permeate down to and include the soul of the organization.

How we participate in the market

Competition and competitiveness is essential in every sector and industry. An organization must, simultaneously, balance it’s internal and external competitiveness in such a way that their reputation remains deserving of the trust and loyalty of its employees and customers.

Equally important, is how the organization treats its competitors in the market. The organization that goes to market believing and behaving with the highest of ethical standards is required if the organization is to be sustainable in the short and long terms.

Technological advancements today occur roughly every five minutes, meaning that something we couldn’t do yesterday we can now – right now. Social media offers many opportunities to create awareness about and market an organization like never before. An ad on Facebook can reach a million new prospective customers within minutes, where just a few years ago that same campaign would take a couple of months just to execute. Social media also has major downsides for organizations. While most organizations have Facebook and Twitter accounts, even those that don’t can suffer untold damage to their reputation by one post… text or video.

How an organization treats it competitors - when they’re losing and when they’re winning – communicates many messages to the outside world, good and bad… but more importantly, it sends a clear message – good or bad – about the organization’s integrity to its employees.

Who our customers are

The ability of an organization to specifically name its customers – at every level, in every department, in every job – and identify why each are customers, is one of the most telling assessment points of their culture.

This exercise creates sobering awareness about the types of customers are attracted to the organization. This should in turn encourage the organization to discover – directly from the customer – why they selected their product(s)/service(s) over their competitors, why they demonstrate the loyalty they do, and what more the organization can do to better serve them. As this customer-centric philosophy becomes observable behavior, the organization’s employees naturally emulate that behavior.

The goal of a customer-centric philosophy is that eventually, the organization’s culture becomes one of treating everyone… each other like a customer.

How we treat our customers

Customer service – how we actually treat our customers cannot be just a mantra, or a cliché, or a goal of an organization. Customer service is how the organization currently treats its customers… and no one knows how an organization treats its customers better than the organization’s customers.

The healthy, sustainable organization won’t as much have a customer service or customer dedication statement, as it will have a non-rhetorical question.

  • How do we actually treat our customers?
  • Do we treat them like they’re really special to us?
  • Do they feel really appreciated by us?
  • Do our customers know how important they are to us?

By having all employees ask themselves these questions daily and seeking honest answers directly from the customers the organization can profoundly effect its entire culture. It’s really just that easy.

How we treat our environment

How responsible an organization is to its local environments – ecologically, economically, and demographically – says how much it really cares about everything else. Is the organization kind to and considerate of its community’s natural, human, and man-made resources? Is the organization building, nurturing, and supporting these three systems, or is it taking them for granted and causing/allowing them to decay or be destroyed?

The value an organization places on a higher quality of life and living for the very least of their community, inspires or enervates its employees to do the same. Goodwill begets goodwill, and bad faith begets bad faith.

The condition of our workplace

Every inch of the workplace is someone’s workspace. How clean, safe, modern, ergonomic, and comfortable an organization’s workspace speaks loudly – deafening, in fact – to how important every workforce believes they are to the organization’s leadership.

An organization that outwardly prioritizes the conditions of the workplace it provides for its employees shows a standard of appreciation for the dedication and devotion of its workforce to be seen and enjoyed every day.

Of course, the reverse is equally powerful. The organization that does not prioritize the cleanliness, safety, health, and comfort of its employees’ workplace is sending an equally powerful, yet detrimental message that ultimately forms its culture.

The condition of our workforce

Every organization’s workforce is comprised of three key elements: technical talent, interpersonal talent, and loyalty. The first two elements are learned, or can be learned, and the third is a choice. What differentiates the sustainable organization from the unsustainable organization is the health and strategic wellness of each of these elements. The condition of our workforce can be measured by these three elements, co-laterally.

Technical talent represents the hard skills and abilities each person has – what they can do without another person’s assistance or help – that are generally job-specific to certain position within an organization (welding, engineering, nursing, plumbing, driving, Information Technology, specific licensure).

Interpersonal talent represents the soft skills each person needs to successfully interact and collaborate with others in order to accomplish their professional and personal goals (communication, accountability, stress management, emotional intelligence, appreciative inquiry, self-esteem, assertiveness).

Loyalty is the conscious decision one makes with respect to mutual allegiance, trust and trustworthiness (certain products, brands, hairstylists, choice of healthcare providers, hometown, high school, college, fraternity/sorority, employer).

All combined, these three elements represent what each employee brings to an organization. Again, the key differentiator of each element is its health and strength. This is not, however, to say that if one or more of the elements is unhealthy (or missing altogether) the employee should be terminate. On the contrary, deficiencies like these should be seen as potential opportunities to up-skill or re-skill an employee, perhaps assigning them to a more fitting position – a position better fitting their technical and interpersonal skills (talent management). Loyalty deficiencies, however, tend to provide fewer opportunities to recover the employee.

Whether an employee’s two talents are being properly utilized, and the employee is being groomed for success (based on their loyalty to the organization: performance and ambassadorship traits) has a direct impact on the organization’s culture respective of its talent selection, assignment and usage.

How we treat our employees

In the workplace – and most everywhere else – we all have one thing in common: we want to feel important. A feeling of importance comes from any combination of being appreciated, liked, recognized, know, acknowledged, affirmed and others. Each of these individually, or in any combination, greatly influence and determine an employee’s satisfaction (reflected in their performance, attendance, retention, and workplace relationship skills).

An organization that emphasizes and actuates an atmosphere of mutual respect, integrity, and dignity its employees will feel important to the organization creating a self-perpetuating positive influence on its overall culture.

How we treat ourselves

This assessment point is equally important to the Organizational Culture Assessment as any of the 11 points. Because the actuation of an organizational culture that creates and maintains and atmosphere of mutual respect, integrity, and dignity depends on every employee, each individual must know how important they are to its success. The realization of how important each employee is to the organization begins with each employee. To offer mutual respect, integrity, and dignity we must first each experience them within ourselves, from ourselves.

  • First, we must assess our level of self-respect, or if we value ourselves and believe that we have worth.
  • Next, we must asses our self-awareness, or how honest we are with ourselves about ourselves.
  • Next, we must assess our self-determination, or our willingness to make and live by decisions we believe to be in our best interest without interfering with the interests of others.
  • Lastly, we must assess our self-actualization, or our realization of our talents and potentialities in life – realizing that we are uniquely talented, while being one of billions of other people on Planet Earth, that can and will make a proportionate contribution.

Nothing contributes more to an organization’s culture than each employee’s self-worth.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 20 February 2019 14:05
Clay Phillips

Entrepreneur and workforce culture creation strategist. Leverages over 25 years experience in the crafting and delivery of professional development training that creates modernized workforce strategies for both public and private entities. As a Soft Skills SME has trained and transformed more than 6,500 professionals at every level of the workforce – front-line to C-Suite. Through SATRDE’s Catalyst™ creates new organizational culture that embraces change eagerly, accepts new challenges with accountability, adopts new technologies, and rewards innovation, collaboration, and forward-thought. Delivers a more dynamic, empathetic, efficient, and cohesive workforce from the top down.

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