Culture can be defined as the ideals, beliefs, behaviors and morals of an organization. Some describe culture as the "soul” of an organization. However, if the culture is not clear or aligned with the strategic goals of an organization, the atmosphere of the organization may fight against accomplishment of these goals.

An example of this type of conflict is when an organization deems it must change the way it operates to be in alignment with new demands of customers, budget, regulation or the public, but instead of changing to meet the new goals, the people, processes or computer systems resist this change.

Great advantages or issues can be caused by how an organization defines, maintains and supports its culture.

So, what are the five steps to perform a checkup of your organization’s culture?

Step 1
Is your organization’s culture clearly defined? How is it articulated (writing, verbal, images, symbols)? Is there an ongoing program in place to educate and inform staff?

Step 2
Does the culture support the strategic goals of the organization? For example, goals may be focused toward customers, product, service, profit, budget, regulation and public service. What type of gap exists between goals and culture?

Step 3
Is the culture supported by the beliefs of the organization’s people, processes and design of internal computer systems? Do people, processes and systems fight against the culture? Are there measurements in place to determine defects or non-compliance with culture?

Step 4
If there are gaps in steps one to three above, identify what is required to gain agreement on definition of strategic goals, designation of culture, alignment of culture to goals, communication of culture and proper support of culture by people, processes and systems.

Step 5
Measure, measure, measure non-compliance (defect) with items in step three.

I know the above can be a big effort but can be well worth time spent.

George Dunn is the founder and president of CRE8 Independent Consultants and is a worldwide recognized consultant, speaker, instructor, contributing editor and author on business process innovation and improvement, paperless technologies and complex computer system replacement planning. He has over 25 years of experience in the advanced technology and process improvement industry. Follow him on Twitter @CRE8consultants.

*As planning for organizational improvement must to be tailored to the specific need of each organization, the information provided in this blog should be treated as an introduction only, and as such, without a direct consultation of requirements, CRE8 cannot assume responsibility for the use, implementation or results of information provided. This blog contains CRE8’s understanding of culture, people, processes and systems. As there are many different definitions and books espousing these areas, the reader should conduct research to learn more about the specifics of each.