organizational culture audit

Applying a Quick Fix to organizational inefficiencies keeps them coming back again and again. Organizations try training, rearranging teams, new hires, digital transformation, and various initiatives that often fall short of the desired outcome. While all of these can make a Positive Impact, they ALL have one thing in common… they will only succeed if the Organizational Culture Supports Them.

Most Root Causes of reoccurring issues can be discovered through an organizational culture audit applying focused cross-functional interviews, and various tools that provide an understanding of the root cause barriers. Here are 7 reasons why You Need to Know your organizational culture and how to go get out of the quick fix rut where issues just keep coming back and you are always putting out fires.

#1 Maximize Training ROI – have you ever been to a training, gotten some great insights, but when you return back to work, it seems like all the new ideas you want to implement are immediately shot down or people say “What a great idea” …and then do nothing! So basically, nothing changes, and the organization’s investment is not a very good one.

The reason… elements of your organizational culture are not supporting innovation, trust, and proactive action. People are self-focused and busy doing the same old thing in the same old way. By understanding the ROOT CAUSE of WHY this is happening and finding the positive elements that can be used to Evolve the organizational culture, you can create training implementation strategies that will not only impact the competence of individuals but also evolve the organizational culture. An organizational culture audit would have made an impact.

Using the OCEAN Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument, allows you to benchmark the existing culture and as training and initiatives are put in place to improve and develop organizational culture, you can visibly see progress and the areas that still need to be worked on.

#2 Maximize the Passion of New Hires – You hire a new manager, their credentials are great and they have an extraordinary experience to match, you pay them $5,000 per month because they are worth it! In the beginning, they need to get their bearings and may not be fully capable, but they are excited and ready to make a big impact… until they start noticing that the silos in the organization are affecting the efficiency of actually getting things done. There seems to be little cooperation from other departments and eventually, this new amazing hire gets sucked into bickering and limited cooperation, they stop coming up with the great ideas you hired them for since it seems its just too much work to get people to support them… and so they become Under Achievers who are performing at 68% or less (according to a DCI Study) of their potential …but you are STILL paying them $5,000 per month!

Oh No! That’s a 32% LOSS of salary investment that could be recovered if you knew the ROOT CAUSE of why it was happening through an Organizational Culture Audit. Finding the cultural hooks that prevent motivated cross-departmental cooperation and communication, and removing or modifying them, would be easier if you had the communication insights and an emotional map that could turn it around. But none of this needs to be done alone, with qualified organizational culture consultants you can discover and fix root-cause issues that are affecting your entire organizational edge.

#3 Maximize Team Efficiency – Have you noticed how you can take a high performer and put them into a high performing team, and within 2 weeks the entire team underperforms? Or have you put an average performer into an average performing team, to have the team surpass all goals and KPIs? Most people are not aware that team performance is predictable by identifying the primary motivators of individuals in a team. But it is! And when we include “Motivational Fit” to an Organizational Culture Audit through focused cross-functional interviews, you can not only see WHY your teams are underperforming, or why they seem to have difficulties reaching KPIs, or even why they are cliquish… but, you can literally craft the ideal high performing team. When you understand the foundations of Group Dynamics applied to multiple groups with varied leadership approaches, patterns appear that can be changed… but only when you know what they are!

#4 Improve Communication Efficiency – You are clearly explaining the task. You delve into the details and make sure you have it all covered. You ask: “Do you understand?” They say “Yes!” and you leave with great confidence… only to discover later that they went and did something Completely Different! Research has identified that how our brain gets clarity (the brain’s Ambiguity Relief process) is genetic and largely accounts for miscommunication… but more importantly, it accounts for the failure of trust and everything that is connected to that. See the TED video on Why trust fails.

Determine the ROOT cause of why some teams may not be meeting their targets or deadlines with an organizational culture audit. Auditing the communication process mix in teams or departments, and cross-referencing with achieved results with the Colored Brain Communication Audit system will identify “Communication Danger Zones” and “Process Stoppers”. Because different processes literally need different inputs to get clarity, there are usually four scenarios that affect team performance

  1. Communication gets jumbled because the team leaders have different processes than the team and are confident that their process is the best to achieve the objective.
  2. Action is slow because most team members have the same process and gain a limited perspective and lack diversity in approach.
  3. Because team leaders or members do not accept ideas or processes to achieve as viable, you feel unappreciated and untrusted… which leads to less participation in problem-solving.
  4. Mistakes are made because people do not want conflict and just keep quiet

Since our process is natural to us and seems like “Common Sense”, we often judge others for not getting it… even if it is not verbal judgment, we do project our emotions and reactions relating to judgment leading to people feeling undervalued and ultimately becoming disengaged.

Solve these types of disengagement and communication structure issues with an Organizational culture audit.

#5 Identify Leadership Gaps – You have a manager that is a control freak. Every time they come near your desk you cringe because they seem to always get into your business… the manager himself is frustrated since you seem to be less uninterested than you used to be… later you find out the manager actually believed he was being “supportive” and trying to help you… WHAT!?

This is not an uncommon scenario when we look in the mirror what we see is based on personal preferences and beliefs, but what others see can be TOTALLY different.

An organizational culture audit including the EDMA Management Mirror will identify each manager’s “Perception Gaps”. This is the difference between what they think they are doing and what others perceive them as doing, and how that is affecting engagement, communication, and innovation. This also gives insights into the levels of culture evolution.

When combined with the communication audit, it also provides additional insights to root causes of why leaders and managers are not getting the results they could be getting and how many managers and team members are ACCIDENTLY negatively affecting the organizational culture.

#6 Improve innovation – you have had the ideas to improve a process, sell more widgets or services, improve efficiency and so much more… but you get rejected and eventually just keep these ideas to yourself. The organization has hired you because of the value of your creativity and ability, and yet, it seems you do not have the chance to really show and apply it. So now the organization loses efficiency and you lose the passion to solve big problems.

There are 4 main factors that create an organizational culture that kill it

  1. A safe environment – without an environment where people can feel safe that they will not get blamed or grossly misunderstood, it is difficult to speak up, express ideas or act without permission or direction. A safe environment requires trust and awareness against judgment. This creates a platform for people to act and express themselves in their own way to achieve results. An organizational culture audit including the culture benchmark, organizational communication audit, and perception gap audit will identify the points where feeling safe is disrupted and set the awareness and system base to improve.
  2. Confidence in creativity into action – many people are not confident that their ideas are valuable and even in a safe environment, they may think it’s not worth mentioning or acting on even when their unique perspective provides insight others may not notice. This often happens with certain types of brain processors discovered in the communication audit, where, because their “creative process” is not the same as the perceived “mainstream creativity”, they feel they are not creative and that belief prevents them from acting on insights.
  3. Structure is not supporting change – if the evolution level of an organizational culture is less than the “Live and Let Live” culture, change is not a value (even if it might be listed as one), knowing the culture evolution through the OCEAN culture assessment instrument will identify where policies and leadership practices are negatively affecting innovation. Once these have been identified, using the behavior gamification and performance measurement tool: Squadli, you can gamify innovation behaviors.
  4. No innovation motivation – everything may be in place but innovation may be structured to take away from productivity… and leaders may not realize it. As human beings, we generally have the instincts to be “valuable” and if procedures, policies, or leaders create bureaucratic practices around innovation that affects the time required to achieve this value, our decision is directed to the immediate tangible outcome more than a possible one from the time required to innovate. With the interviews in an organizational culture audit and the sustaining intelligence from the other tools, organizations can restructure processes to remove barriers to active innovation. Combine innovation gamification with Squadli and organization have both the push and the pull to achieve a highly innovative organizational culture.

#7 Alignment with a common vision and values – do you know your current organizational values? Can you recite the vision? If you are like 97.7% of employed individuals globally, chances are you cannot. Behaving in accordance with organizational values with specific vision-based objectives is a lot like learning a language, if you do not practice it, you forget it. And sometimes values are conflicting… i.e Excellence and Innovation, where excellence implies little or no mistakes, but innovation requires the risk of failure…

An organizational culture audit will identify conflicting values but more importantly, it will identify if your people are even in line with the values the organization has chosen and how to realign organizational objectives with values and behaviors that support the bigger objectives and vision.

Once the audit is complete, the people can create “Guiding Principles” as described in “The Ultimate Guide to Leading Organizational Change” and these guiding behaviors can be gamified with the Squadli app creating not only a set of values for people to memorize but a set of implemented behaviors that actually get results.

Organizational culture audits are not only an exercise in finding data, they are about finding the best way people can be at their best and not only discovering the barriers but how to break those barriers and crate an Ideal Work Environment that supports people to personally succeed in the process of achieving organizational objectives.

Become a Certified Organizational Culture Consultant and help organizations VISIBLY change their organizational cultures in less than 80 days