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Culture and accountability
Organisations that are trusted are more successful. Yet trust is not something any organisation can just buy, plan or hope for – it is an outcome. The way an organisation operates and the ownership it takes for what it does and how it does it are key factors in building trust. We measure these things as organisational culture and accountability. Both are measurable and both are critical to sustainable success.
A great culture is required to execute a great strategy
Many organisations spend hundreds of thousands and in some case many millions of dollars crafting their strategy and/or getting advice on how to do that. Many of those same organisations spend a fraction of that investment in gaining a realistic understanding of their current culture, the culture they need to turbo-charge their strategy and developing a plan for cultural change.
We encourage our clients to invest appropriately in understanding their organisation’s culture, including to identify those areas of their culture that are acting as a hand-brake in the execution of their strategy – and having done so to put in place appropriate plans to transform their culture.
Culture involves trade-offs (and our cultural sliders)
Your organisation can’t be uniform and diverse at the same time, nor can it place a high value on individual accountability and collective accountability at the same time. There will be trade-offs. If you prioritise hard conversations, there will be a trade-off which will result in a lower level of harmony, at least in the short term.
Insync has developed an innovative way to shine a light on the cultural change that is desired to support the execution of your strategy based on the views of your employees. Here is a hypothetical example of the cultural change that might be required as revealed by results from using Insync’s cultural trade-offs survey. The results shown are fictitious.
Insync’s cultural trade-offs survey can be used on a stand-alone basis or as a module of your employee survey. Impetus for change can then be grounded in strong evidence and the engagement of all employees.
Another of our cultural frameworks
To get to where you want to go, it’s vital you understand where you are now. Insync’s culture assessment and development tool (based on the Organisation Culture Assessment Instrument developed by Cameron and Quinn) is an extensively researched framework that measures cultural indicators and how well they are aligned with an organisation’s direction and values. The tool measures four predominant culture types on opposite ends of a flexible vs. controlled, internal vs. external scale:
- People centric – teamwork, participation, consensus
- Market driven – market share, market leader, competitive pricing
- Bureaucratic – dependable delivery, predictability, secure employment
- Innovative – product/service leader, initiative, freedom
The culture assessment and development tool provides a complete view of how employees perceive the organisation’s current culture and what kind of culture they believe is essential for achieving success.
Surveys, interviews and focus groups
We often measure culture by way of a survey of employees, including by using one of the two survey frameworks set out above.
We are also regularly asked to carry out focus groups and/or interviews of employees to gain further insights into the culture of an organisation or a segment thereof. Having done so many of these analyses we are very skilled at providing a realistic description of an organisation’s culture and the cultural changes that will need to be made in order to execute the strategy well.
Do you have good accountability and performance management?
Accountability is easy to say but without a meaningful accountability management system woven into your DNA you are unlikely to drive consistent levels of performance and ownership across the organisation. Being clear about who is accountable for what, when, and how provides the structure needed to help make faster, better quality and more aligned decisions.
Accountability and performance measurement and management describe how individuals and teams deliver on the promises they make, directly and indirectly, to meet the agreed needs of their stakeholders, through the expectations they express or define. This relationship between needs, expectations and promises is reflected through culture and performance and ultimately leads to trust. This is why measuring culture and accountability can be so important.
Why measuring your accountability model matters
If the scaffolding that defines how formal ownership of decisions, tasks and activities across the organisation is not sound, then we shouldn’t be surprised when things go wrong, performance drops, or culture is poor. Our surveys, interviews, research or other insights will point to a poor accountability framework and culture as a profound root-cause. Measuring accountability, and specifically, how well designed and how effectively implemented the accountability model really is, is an important component of assessing an organisation’s overall capability and what it can do to improve it.