There are numerous stories about how organizational culture (shared values, behaviors, and beliefs) contributes to the success or downfall of an organization. Whether talking about the brilliance of Zappos and Southwest Airlines or the hubris of Enron we are reminded again and again how this largely invisible force can play such a huge role in the rise and fall of organizations. Likewise, if you ask any savvy leader in the business world today the importance of organizational culture, he or she will tell you that it’s paramount.
Yet when you talk to these same leaders about how to change and manage culture many times you simply get more questions than answers. The business world thrives on process improvement, restructuring, technological innovation, and systems enhancement but when it comes to changing the culture of the organization, the people, we step into a hazy fog of approaches.
One thing I have learned from the Center for Values-Driven Leadership (CVDL) and management guru Peter Drucker is that “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Never has an axiom been truer than when talking about the culture of an organization. Leaders may understand the need to shift, enhance, or highlight the culture of an organization and even take steps to do so, yet few have any type of data whatsoever to see if they are making progress or backsliding further into despair. That is until the CVDL introduced the Organizational Values Inventory (OVI).Quoting the Center’s website, The OVI “is a tool that measures how well an organization operationalizes its values by focusing on eight critical success factors: onboarding, training and development; communications and employee awareness; decision-making; accountability systems; resource allocation; rewards, recognition, and sanctions; and leadership behavior.” Finally, leaders can have the data to see a snapshot of the organization’s current culture, if there is values alignment in the organization, the degree to which change is happening, and where energy and effort need to be employed going forward. So in a nutshell, now that you can measure it with a world class assessment tool, you can manage it successfully!
So as you think about the need to need to build a culture of quality, innovation, learning, or all of the above, be sure to start with hard data that will allow you chart a realistic and achievable path forward. Failure to do so will most likely lump you in with 70% of most change initiatives, the ones that fail to achieve their stated objectives.
For more details on the Center for Values-Driven Leadership, visit our web site, www.cvdl.org.