CultureTarget™: Pinpoint your unique culture

If you’re ever looking to stump a corporate executive, ask the following question: Has your organization defined its “ideal” culture?

If the answer is no, you can expect that organization to go through a series of culture-related initiatives with little to no discernable return, as they will have nothing to frame them. If leaders cite the culture of another organization, the results will mirror trying on someone else’s pants; they just don’t quite fit. And if executives describe traits of a “high-performing” culture that they once read about, their results will be as non-descript as their initiatives. 

Culture is something that should be uniquely yours, but first it must be defined. To do so, CultureIQ’s CultureTarget™ activity starts with a review of your organization’s current state in two categories, including:

  • Planned strategies. Planned strategies are an organization’s desire to “become” something (e.g., greater diversity/inclusion, a safer/more secure work environment, increased innovation). They are controllable decisions leadership makes during planning periods around what the company wants to be as it grows.
  • Emergent requirements. Emergent requirements are uncontrollable; they are situations that arise that pose threats to future growth (e.g., COVID-19, managing sudden attrition). Leadership must understand these situations and develop their culture to either mitigate or cope with them.

We have defined a series of the most common planned strategies and emergent requirements; when you pinpoint your combination, you’re ready for the next step: the application of our research-backed Culture Framework.

Created by our I/O psychologists, who have decades of experience putting culture research into action, the Culture Framework is comprised of seven components: dignity, purpose, talent, collaboration, curiosity, execution and agility: 

  • Dignity and purpose (components we refer to as “core”) must be present at high levels to support any combination of planned strategies and emergent requirements, so they must always be carefully monitored and acted upon if degradation occurs. 
  • Similarly, agility is critical regardless of your unique scenario, as it helps leaders understand the organization’s ability to respond to change (we describe this as “velocity”), particularly when culture change is desired.
  • The components of collaboration, curiosity, execution and talent (known as “flex” components), will be more or less important given which planned strategies and emergent requirements you choose. Think of them as sliders that move up and down as situations change; you only want to study them in great depth if they are relevant.

With your CultureTarget™ identified, what do you now have in hand? First, you’ll be able to drive agreement among your executive team as to which components of culture will be the most important for you to foster. Second, you’re now able to focus your data-gathering activities and avoid asking questions of employees in areas that are relatively less important than others. And finally, when you do get your data, you’ll know that the choices you make around actioning will be ones that will directly impact the organization’s future growth. 

The real advantage of CultureTarget™ is its flexibility. If a new CEO joins your business mid-year and begins to steer the company in a different direction, you can work with our culture strategists to discuss how your target culture might change. If a new emergent requirement rears its head a few months into any given year, you can do the same. Targets change – so too should the approach you use to drive your culture work. 

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