The importance of company culture has been highlighted in recent times as something that facilitates everything from company growth to performance and everything in between. Defining company culture is hard. If you Google company culture several articles come up each with their unique take on company culture.
This article has a very helpful insight on this topic. Some articles talk about having a strong culture or a weak culture. All of this is good and well but how does it help us in making our organisations and more importantly the people in it more effective?
The best definition we have found on Company Culture is from Steve Smith the co-creator of UGR’s. He defines Company Culture as “The way we do things around here”. This is a very helpful definition as is really frames the issue nicely. If you think of culture more broadly like a country or language group’s culture there are several elements. These elements can be things like: systems, symbols, language, assumptions, beliefs, and habits. Looking at these elements broadly it all comes back to the way a particular group does things.
So we often receive requests from companies to help to assess their culture and to “fix” it. Some even say they have no culture and they would like us to help them create a high performance culture. Fortunately (or unfortunately) depending on which stance you take. We posit that ALL companies have a culture, the question is whether that culture facilitates high performance or hampers it.
So this brings us back to the question we asked in the title of this article. Can we measure company culture? The answer is that there are several measures of company culture. Probably the measure most well know is the Organisational Culture Assessment Inventory (OCAI). The OCAI measures what they call conflicting values. The problem with this assessment is that the assessment is type assessment. This means that the company is placed into a type out of a list of several possible combinations. However the assessment does not make provision for variations in type. For example a large multinational with a specific type of culture will look vastly different from an entrepreneurial start up with the same type of culture.
Measuring culture really comes down to the way you define it. If you use the definition we like, namely, the way we do things around here, it really comes down to measuring habits. By measuring the habits of employees we can get an accurate reflection of the company culture. We have recently started using the Shadowmatch tool and with great success we have managed to map the habits, or the culture, of several organisations. With this we can then identify what is going on what needs to change to become more effective.
The Shadowmatch tool allows us to identify individuals who potentially do not fit the culture and allows us to coach them to better fit the culture of high performance.
Please contact us if you would like to find out more.