Organisational culture is like a fingerprint. No two cultures are entirely the same. Culture is often mistaken for climate, even in sophisticated organisations. Yet, climate merely reflects how employees feel at a point in time. It fluctuates. Culture sustains and drives business performance.
When we meet a new client, we are curious to understand their current organisational climate and culture. Often, leaders make the mistake of assuming they know what it feels like to be part of an organisation as an employee. They have their finger on the pulse of how people behave, whether people are happy coming to work and how effective their culture is. Our cultural audit process seeks to produce real-life data around these assumptions. As accredited and experienced coaches, we know what questions to ask to uncover the overt and covert attributes of a culture or climate. In most cases, even in engaged cultures, there is more opportunity below the surface.
At Dattner Grant, when engaged to do a cultural audit, we design a thorough qualitative and quantitative process, which seeks to extract the truth of an organisation through interviewing staff at multiple levels. Interviews are conducted by coaches who understand how to create safety, to ask careful open questions and to support participants to share a narrative that may not be immediately forthcoming.
Once we have the raw data, we pattern and theme the findings into a report. The report outlines pragmatic recommendations, including alignment of culture to strategy, levers for creating change and potential impact of action to be taken.
Once the organisation has a clear picture of where the culture is in real time, a solid building block for the future is created. Knowing deeply what motivates, drives and holds an organisation back allows the staff to then springboard into building capacity to create a future they have all articulated together.
It is a passion for discovery and rich cultural data that makes Dattner Grant such a compelling partner in a culture and climate audit process. During focus groups and interviews, you are provided with an opportunity to deeply connect with the staff and unearth their challenges and visions for the future. Some of the most profound leadership experiences we have are with staff members in an organisation who don’t feel they have a voice at the table. Where in the past these people can be blockers to strategy, by hearing their voices and aligning them to the organisation’s goals, we find we can actualise a lot of latent talent and discretionary effort in an organisation.
Author, Ami Summers, Coach, co facilitator and Senior Cultural Auditor