If you went into a business and did a CULTURE AUDIT what would be the parameters of your assessment…..? Would it be about how friendly people are….. how well they communicated together…..how much confidence individuals had within their roles…. the degree to which people felt supported by colleagues…..how valued and appreciated people felt by their colleagues and maybe whether they felt a strong sense of belonging to the company they were part of..???
How do you measure, define culture and therefore how do you know if it’s good, bad, healthy or unhealthy?
Within the world of coaching we talk about positivity and negativity…
POSITIVE culture attributes include CAMARADERIE, OPTIMISM, CONSTRUCTIVE INTERACTION, COMMUNICATION, VALUING DIVERSITY, RESPECT, TRUST…
NEGATIVE culture attributes are described as TOXINS and include DEFENSIVENESS, BLAME, STONE WALLING and CONTEMPT…
Our obsession with measurement in business comes from the belief that if you can prove it works then it’s worth paying for…. And yet this is based on the scientific approach to the truth and some things are simply invisible to scientific investigation and yet we know instinctively and intuitively that they exist….
The truth is that we all like being in situations where we feel good, safe, loved and recognised for who we are and what we can do….. we all know that ‘working together’ is an easier and more efficient way of achieving goals and yet the reality is so many of us do not experience this….WHY?
My work as a coach has revealed that healthy, positive cultures support and sustain the people within them because they consist of clearly defined relationship networks joined up by effective communication channels. Unhealthy cultures invariably consist of a broken set of relationship networks with ineffective communication channels.
An insightful coach can help locate these ‘breaks in the chain’ and identify why this has happened so that they can be re-connected and maintained operational.
For this to succeed the coach must operate as an external agent/ally to the business because during the re-alignment process, people can get upset or resist change and will attempt to blame the coach for their own personal discomfort.
In sum, culture in business is about effective relationship networks through which the business agendas can be delivered efficiently.
When these are connected up appropriately there is teamwork and a positive community spirit…where there is a lack of connection between these networks there is inefficiency, stress and frustration, creating low morale, despondency and business failure.