What is an Organization’s Culture?

An organization’s culture is its collective mindset. It consists of written and unwritten norms and expectations of behaviors regarding how employees should perform their work and how they should interact with others, both within and outside the organization.

Examples of behaviors that define a company culture include:

  • How employees and leaders interact in times of stress and change 
  • Whether it is acceptable for employees to ask questions, say no, or make suggestions for change
  • What behaviors get rewarded or disciplined 
  • The level of authenticity and truth-telling 
  • What gets monitored and/or reported 
  • How mistakes and communication breakdowns are handled
  • Whether management supports training and how they do so
  • How power is used and/or shared 
  • The degree of cross-department support and collaboration
  • How blame and rumors are dealt with 

Why is culture an important consideration when transforming your organization?

When introducing change (e.g., IT-driven changes, a merger and/or acquisition, dealing with an unplanned circumstance such as Covid-19), many of your organization’s patterns will emerge as either being helpful or constraining as you navigate to a new way of operating.

Because the necessary strategies, structures, systems, processes, and/or technologies will likely be different from your current ones, they will require employees to adopt new ways of working and new ways of interacting with each other.

Without a proactive plan to change your cultural norms and expectations to those that support the objectives of your change, your organization’s transformation initiatives are more likely to fail because the current cultural norms and expectations will tether employees to their existing ways of working.

It is important to proactively make changes to your culture and make these changes overt so that employees: 1) know they need to do things differently and, 2) know what they need to do differently.

How can you begin to transform your culture?

In order to fully understand the extent to which cultural change must take place, leaders first need to properly assess their current culture. Doing so will help you understand to what extent your existing cultural attributes are likely to support or act as a barrier to achieving your objectives.

Once this is understood, you can determine where changes need to occur. You will also be able to identify the specific cultural attributes that embody the critical behaviors necessary for your successful transformation.

Soarington’s Approach to Cultural Transformation

  1. Conduct an assessment of your current culture. This assessment is customized for the unique characteristics of your organization and is achieved through the appropriate combination of an online survey, one-on-one interviews, and/or focus groups.
  2. Determine your desired culture. This is accomplished through prioritization and alignment discussions with your leadership team using Soarington’s proprietary list of 26 different aspects of company culture.\
  3. Assess the current state of your organization’s culture against your desired culture. This will enable you to understand the gaps that need to be closed to achieve your desired culture and defines the critical requirements for your cultural transformation. 
  4. Provide recommendations to close the gap between the current culture and your desired culture and seek your leadership team’s agreement on these recommendations. The recommendations will be based on the output of the assessment and the prioritized and agreed upon desired cultural attributes.
  5. Prioritize recommendations. Soarington conducts a comprehensive mapping exercise designed to extract the greatest value from each recommendation by assessing the impact of each one on the others.
  6. Create customized action plans. This takes the transformation from the strategic to tactical level and establishes your foundation for the activities necessary to bring your cultural transformation to life.
  7. Execute action plans. Soarington employs highly experienced consultants to ensure that these customized action plans are executed efficiently and effectively.
  8. Measure Cultural Transformation Success. Soarington’s approach to measuring the effectiveness of your cultural transformation will give you the confidence you need that the desired culture is being achieved.