The imperative of understanding organisational culture

💗 Culture EX

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Nick Mackeson-Smith
Nick Mackeson-Smith
Chief Curiosity Officer, Founder and Director
January 28, 2024

In the rapidly evolving business landscape, understanding what drives and creates organisational culture is not just important, it's imperative. At Five NZ, we believe that the right culture is the bedrock for the effective execution of strategy.

The power of culture

Culture is the invisible thread that ties an organisation together. It's the collective mindset that influences how decisions are made, how people behave, and how the organisation responds to challenges. We describe culture as what people repeatedly do, and why they do it. A solid understanding of what drives and creates this culture is crucial because it directly impacts the execution of strategy.

Deep discovery vs. Pulse surveys

While engagement or pulse surveys provide a snapshot in timeof employee sentiment, they often fail to uncover the deeper, underlying issues that can impact an organisation's culture. And while it might seem helpful to classify a culture as a colour (or place it in some other labelled category), this seems too detached from the underlying mechanics of what's happening within an organisation, and can be over-simplistic at times. Having a common language is only helpful if it leads to a common understanding and common action. This is where deep discovery comes in.

Deep discovery involves a comprehensive exploration of the various factors that influence culture. It goes beyond surface-level metrics to uncover the root causes of issues, providing a more accurate picture of the organisation's cultural health. We believe in digging below the superficial, and looking for patterns, trends, correlations, and causal factors in every aspect of organisational culture. We consider the lenses of people, process, technology, and leadership to ensure a holistic view of every facet of how each organisation works. This helps leaders identify precise actions and interventions to affect real cultural change, and guards against generalisations and broad-brush programmes of change.

Monitoring cultural health

Establishing a clear dashboard of an organisation's cultural indicators is another critical step. This allows executive teams to monitor and adjust their work plans as necessary, ensuring that the organisation remains aligned with its strategic objectives.

A well-defined dashboard provides a real-time view of the organisation's cultural health, enabling leaders to proactively address issues before they escalate. This can lead to improved productivity, employee satisfaction, and ultimately, better business results. Often, we find that organisations are failing to measure factors that deeply influence organisational culture - instead choosing to focus primarily on output-based metrics. Again - it's helpful to understand what's delivered, but it's valuable to understand why and how it was delivered.

The Five approach

At Five NZ, we use behavioural economics models and our own proprietary organisational maturity model to help organisations gain insight and take decisive action. Our approach is designed to provide a deep understanding of an organisation's culture, empowering leaders to drive meaningful change.

Understanding and shaping organisational culture is not a luxury, it's a necessity. It's the key to unlocking an organisation's full potential and achieving amazing results. At Five, we're committed to helping organisations navigate this journey. Together, we can create workplaces where everyone thrives.

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January 28, 2024
January 28, 2024

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