question six

How can we authentically promote a culture where challenge and disagreement are seen as positive expressions of excellence and the drive for quality?

Our belief is that culture can be tuned and promoted to move in a range of directions.

Your culture is a reflection of the behaviours adopted by you all and whilst you cannot mandate the nature of your orgaisnational culutre you certainly can tune it. To do so we consider the following areas of questions:

who communicates, what is communicated, when and using what mechanisms?

How is challenge and disagreement expressed and heard? What is communicated? How and when and with what effect? What is heard and how does that vary from what is said? How does bad news get around so fast? How much communication is two-way?

the nature of relationships and the appropriateness of those dynamics

Who controls the relationships? How are relationships formed? On what basis are these relationships managed? What is the 'currency' within the relationship – obedience, money, effort or challenge, debate and dialogue? How are relationships described? Are these relationships 'toxic' or 'nurturing'?

Rules and boundaries
the nature of boundaries and rules within the environment

What are the explicit and implicit rules? Is it accept that challenge and disagreement are appropriate methods to debate? How are these rules set and by whom? Who polices the rules? Is there one set of rules for 'us' and another set for 'them'? How can these rules be re-negotiated? Are these rules necessary, effective, appropriate, helpful?

the level and nature of self-esteem within the organisation

How do we talk about ourselves? How do we write about ourselves within our corporate literature? How do we describe our competitors, our colleagues and customers? How do we talk about our staff, our managers and our leaders?

although often the most obvious area of the 'culture' this is an area that is often overlooked

Can we do our jobs in this environment? Does this environment provide us with the tools and equipment necessary to be successful? Do we have an environment that reflects our brand and image? Do I feel good at my desk? Are we aligned with our clients and competitors?

For examples of how we've worked with clients on this, see these stories: of developing talent and an OD challenge.