Change Implementation Techniques for Forming Transitional Team, Creating Alignment, Maximizing Connectedness and Creativity

Technique 5.4 Eight Issues that Focus Organisational Culture

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Introduction

The 8 main elements that focus the energy and interaction of people within an organisation:

1. communication

2. relationship

3. power

4. flexibility

5. fairness

6. trust

7. truth

8. empowerment

These 8 have a direct impact on how smoothly individuals in an organisation work as a corporate whole

"...In most organisations, communication is not what it could be. On one hand employees complain of being deluged (usually by emails) with an overwhelming amount of useless information; on the other they feel they do not really know what those in power are thinking and planning, especially as it affects them. Communications between different departments, divisions, and sectors is usually poor, thus interfering with the emergence of a holistic culture where employees can see the patterns and connections at work in their organisation as a whole. The amount of fairness (or its lack) perceived to exist in an organisation has a direct effect on morale and on the likelihood that employees will give their all or grudgingly stick to what is required. It also affects teamwork and relationships in general. Relationships, trust and truth cannot be separated ‐ each impinges on the others. We need to trust that others will tell us the truth, however unpalatable, and we need to trust that they will stand by us in times of crisis or if we should make mistakes when taking risk on behalf of the organisation. Power permeates any organisation. It is necessary to any organisation, but how is it wielded? Is it perceived to be fair? Is it shared among a wide range of people? Does it lead to empowerment of individuals? Are the dictates of power themselves flexible, and does the organisation's power structure lead to easy flexibility in methodology and decision-making. The negative culture surrounding the 8 issues in business-as-usual accounts for the fact that at least 85% of the people in the workforce are influenced to act from negative motivation..and that in turn accounts for why business itself is driven by a culture expressing self-assertion, anger, craving and fear..Business-as-we-know-it is caught in a vicious circle and unsustainable circle of negative motivation..."

Danah Zohar et al, 2004

Indications of shifts

The aim of this technique is to identify the "pressure points" in the organizational/community culture focus a shift in attitudes and/or behaviours.

Instruction: Rank either yourself or the organization/community on the 8 elements that focus on organisational culture by circling the options that are closest to your experience. Be as honest as you can. The options are:

1. never

2. occasionally

3. frequently

4. always

If some of the statements do not apply to you, you need not answer them. Use your answers to identify the areas that need improvement; remember that there is always room for improvement.

1 Communications

Senior management ensures that all employees know and understand the organisation's goals, vision and strategy

1

never

2

occasionally

3

frequently

4

always

Managers make sure that you know how your job contributes to the organisation's achievement

1

2

3

4

Early reporting of bad news or potential threats to organisational performance is encouraged in the organisation

1

2

3

4

People get timely and accurate feedback on their performance

1

2

3

4

Staff are encouraged to seek regular feedback from their internal and external customers or clients on how they can better meet their needs

1

2

3

4

All employees are given opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way to decisions affecting them

1

2

3

4

2 Fairness

The workload is distributed fairly among members of your team

1

2

3

4

You are rewarded fairly for your knowledge, skills and contribution to this organisation

1

2

3

4

Appointments and promotions in this organisation go to the person who is best suited to a job

1

2

3

4

People are helped to learn from honest mistakes, rather than being punished

1

2

3

4

The company supports people when pressure from family or personal life negatively affects their performance

1

2

3

4

Managers respect ideas and suggestions put forward by all members of a unit or team

1

2

3

4

3 Relationships

Senior managers care about the well-being of people who work here

1

2

3

4

Some of the people you work with have become good friends

1

2

3

4

The organisation strives to develop mutually beneficial long-term relationships with its stakeholders (customers, shareholders, business partners, community and environmental groups, etc)

1

2

3

4

When plans and budgets are made in your organisation, the people issues that you will need to consider in reaching the organisational goals are carefully considered

1

2

3

4

Your manager helps you to arrange your working hours and conditions so there is a minimum stress on your relationships outside work

1

2

3

4

People in different departments or sectors of this organisation co-operate to achieve common goals

1

2

3

4

 

4 Trust

The level of trust between managers and workers in this organisation is high

1

2

3

4

Important information about the health of the business is shared freely with all employees

1

2

3

4

You can rely on other people you work with to do their jobs well

1

2

3

4

Your manager backs you when you make a decision about your job

1

2

3

4

Other members of your team help you when you are overloaded or have problems in your job

1

2

3

4

You feel safe in experimenting and taking reasonable risks in order to maximise your performance

1

2

3

4

5 Power

Senior managers do not have a lot more privileges than lower-level staff

1

2

3

4

Senior managers do not bend the rules to suit themselves in the organisation

1

2

3

4

Senior managers provide adequate opportunities for you to speak with them about how you believe things are going in the organisation

1

2

3

4

You are not afraid of the power that senior managers have over you

1

2

3

4

Senior managers listen to your ideas or suggestions for improvement instead of just telling you what to do

1

2

3

4

You feel this organisation uses its power to further the common good of stakeholders

1

2

3

4

6 Truth

You can believe the information that senior management gives you

1

2

3

4

You are encouraged to give managers honest and timely feedback on any matter affecting current performance or future success of the organisation

1

2

3

4

When changes are planned in this organisation, the likely impact is fully discussed with people to be affected by them

1

2

3

4

There are few hidden agendas in this organisation

1

2

3

4

The documents published by this organisation give stakeholders a true and complete account of its performance and intentions

1

2

3

4

You are encouraged to tell the truth in your job

1

2

3

4

7 Flexibility

You have considerable scope to tailor your arrangements to your preferred way of working

1

2

3

4

When changes in the external environment make it impossible to achieve agreed targets, you can discuss the matter with your manager and suggest changes to the original plan

1

2

3

4

You can anticipate likely trends and events that may affect your performance and develop contingency plans to deal with them

1

2

3

4

People are encouraged to acquire a range of skills so they can contribute to the organisation in a variety of ways

1

2

3

4

Our management processes and our technology allow us great flexibility on the job

1

2

3

4

We try to enable our customers to do business with us in a way that suits them best

1

2

3

4

8 Empowerment

You feel able to influence the organisation's plans and policies that affect you and your work

1

2

3

4

You have plenty of scope to use initiative in your job

1

2

3

4

You have been delegated enough authority to do your job well

1

2

3

4

When you make a mistake in your work, it is left to you to initiate corrective action

1

2

3

4

This organisation invests in the continuing development of your knowledge and skills

1

2

3

4

We listen to feedback from our customers (internal and external) and stakeholders and act on it to improve performance

1

2

3

4

Answers

Lower scores identify areas that need improving.

(source: Danah Zohar et al, 2004)

 

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