Getting a direct read on the value of a designed, aligned culture is difficult; some would say impossible. However, indirect indicators of the value of a poorly aligned, unhealthy culture stand out like prawn’s eyes as we have seen recently with some iconic brands. Shareholder value erosion, talent attrition, reputational indices and poor customer satisfaction, all point to culture.
“Hey James, can you send us a proposal? We have a culture problem that needs fixing.” If I had a $100 for every time I have fielded this request…
At CulturAlchemy our first response is to ask two primary questions:
1) How do you know that you have a ‘culture problem’?
2) Why does it even matter?
These two questions unfold a rich process for explorative dialogue that is learning and begins to diagnose the underlying issues. This process can take days, weeks and even months to unfold.
The AICD and AFR BOSS Roundtable in late April saw Karen Moses FAICD sum up the Board’s pandemic conundrum vividly;
“The challenge we’ve got around remote working is: how do boards stay connected to culture and how the organisation is faring? We can’t do site visits. We can’t do corridor talks, all those things that would typically give you a line of sight into the pulse of the organisation. That is a puzzle for us to walk through.”
In six short months, a whole range of new pandemic-created words have entered our lexicon; COVID-19, self-isolating, social distancing and R-naught measures but the phase with an embedded mind-trap is “new normal”.
The world has started what will be infinitely more complex, ambiguous and difficult than was the move to lock-down in March. What lies ahead for leaders and their organisations is the labyrinthine process of navigating our way into new modes of life, business and economic health.
At CulturAlchemy, we have spent recent weeks connecting with executives and board members of our clients in the service of taking the pulse of corporate and government organisations and the economy more broadly. (more…)