Take a Fresh View of Your Culture

June 27, 2011 Max Isaac

I would like to share with you how we are able to help our clients gain the insights into how they can better play to their organizational strengths and manage their organizational weaknesses.

Measuring the culture of an organization is a tough challenge – traditional methods usually involve some sort of cultural surveys and interviews that ask respondents to rate “the organization” on various criteria. Inevitably conscious or unconscious biases can creep in as respondents struggle with ambiguous concepts and questions such as – “How stagnant or dynamic is your organization’s culture?”

We are able to analyze aggregated data from our individual and team Belbin Reports that provides us with both summarized and detailed data: Organizational Culture Reports. By the very nature of the Belbin Reports, respondents are asked about themselves, or as observers they are asked to select words that are descriptive of their peers. These reports provide a unique view on people in the company by people in the company.

As we use individual Belbin Reports to increase self-awareness at the individual level, and awareness of others at the team level, we can use Organizational Culture Reports to increase awareness of the culture at the organizational level.

Analysis of the data collected from the individual Belbin Reports provides a unique view of both the culture of an organization, and sub-groups within the organization. Organizational Culture Reports can be produced for any sub-groups or teams within the organization who already have individual Belbin Reports. Typically, we look at information both vertically, examining the levels in the organization (i.e. the executive team, the management group, the middle-management group) and horizontally (i.e. various departments such as marketing or manufacturing). The following is an example of a report of a management group showing its rankings in aggregate across the 9 Belbin Team Roles:

In this case, we had Belbin Reports for 100 executives and we established that their top roles were Coordinator, Shaper, and Monitor Evaluator. We also noted that the Plant and Resource Investigator roles were ranked lower.

Next, we examined this same group at a very granular level, looking for ideas that may have been hidden in the aggregated data. The following report extract provides us with the adjectives used to describe the management group by their observers:

Please note: The Belbin instrument displays 72 adjectives, we have chosen to show you a selection that best provides insights into the team role behaviors within this management group.

Management expert Peter Drucker stated that: “Company cultures are like country cultures. Never try to change one. Try, instead, to work with what you’ve got.” We agree with him. Our philosophy at the individual, team, and organizational levels is to play to one’s strengths, and manage one’s weaknesses, but not try to correct them.

In the case of this management group, we would engage the leadership team in diagnostic discussions that create an awareness of the following ideas:

  • “Analysis Paralysis” can become the norm for this kind of culture made up of highly analytical and critical people, who are very good at finding flaws in logic and plans (rather than creating new directions).
  • While the group has an abundance of analytical skills, they lack innovative tendencies and skills.

We would explore:

  • Creating a heightened awareness around these tendencies to create opportunities for better management. (E.g. Having mechanisms in place to check from time to time that teams are not falling prey to being overly analytical.)
  • In this culture, the minority of individuals who do have the innovative tendencies and skills should be valued and carefully deployed.
  • Attempting to create a balance of team roles on the team, when creating new management or project teams.
  • Establishing groundrules for current teams that can deal with the imbalances of team roles.

We find that looking at these Organizational Culture Reports on an annual basis allows leaders to see how their organizations are evolving over time. Just as one’s individual team role rankings can change over time, so can the rankings of team roles across all individuals in an organization.

Consider for a moment the influences that the unexamined behaviors in your organization could be having on your results. Now imagine the way that your organization could respond differently by being aware of this information.

By using the data from these reports along with qualitative interviews, your organization can create a roadmap for success.

If you’re interested in finding out more:

Contact Us.

contact-phone Call us toll-free in North America at 877.333.3606 or phone us at 416.483.7380.

contact-email Email us at info@3circlepartners.com.

 

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