How do you measure culture? With a culture scan!
The Belastingdienst in The Netherlands has a cultural problem. If you want to tackle it, you first need to have insight into the current culture. That means that you have to be able to measure it and that you have to talk about it with each other, otherwise everyone involved will look at the culture of the organisation from their own image or feeling. So in order to avoid a Babylonian confusion of tongues, you need to be able to talk about culture in a single language from a single model.
The same applies when you want to know what your weight is. Then you need a measuring instrument and a standard. You use scales and you decide whether you measure your weight in kilos or in stones.
No common image
In the financial world we have clear agreements: if you want to work with them, you use the model of the balance sheet, which is the same for everyone. The model of the organizational structure is a top-down structure that you represent with boxes. But when it comes to culture, everyone starts talking about behaviour or what they see from the outside. There is no common cultural model within companies or among them. It may be that everyone has an image, but that is not a common image.
You’re in the middle of it
In addition, it is difficult to describe a culture of which you are a part. For example, it is also very difficult to describe the culture of the Netherlands for a Dutch person. If you don’t speak the same language or use the same measuring instrument and the same model, it remains a very personal discussion in which you exchange personal images and opinions. It is easier for the Dutch to agree on what English or German culture is.
Managers see the culture in their organisation as normal behaviour and the standard way of working that was always there. For the Belastingdienst, for example, it is normal to see everyone as a fraudster until proven otherwise.
No knowledge and no model
Moreover, you can’t measure what the culture is without a model or the education and background knowledge you need to understand your model and work with it. Just like for a good use of language you have to have a good understanding of grammar.
Culture is the failure factor
Many managers just start to change. That is why 70% of change projects fail and no less than 90% of digital transformations fail, research by IMD Business School shows. Just look at Blokker, Hema and travel agencies: many companies have a lot of trouble with this digital transformation.
And the most important factor in those failures is culture. All those other factors, such as ICT, structure, finances and strategy, are clear to people. That means they specificly don’t know how to deal with culture. If you don’t know what’s going on, how can you solve it?
The People Change Scan
People Change does have a culture model and the People Change Scan is based on that. Our consultants have followed specific training on transformation, in fact, we train people ourselves. With our scan you measure the culture and at the same time create a common language based on a clear model. This allows you to quickly find out what you need to change, develop and improve.
With the People Change Scan, for example, you could have found that the Belastingdienst, which is a very blue organisation anyway, put a lot of red in after the fraud by the Bulgarians. After that it was completely turned to blue-red. They saw everyone as a fraudster, because they thought everyone was a Bulgarian.
Based on the scan, you would have known that more orange and green was needed. Then you could have talked a lot faster about what to do with the culture.
Do you also want insight into the culture in your company?