A sign along a highway, indicating several curves in the road are ahead. It is a metaphor for culture change in times of change.

Has there been a year in recent history more transformative than 2020? Not only organizations, but the whole world has undergone a culture change.

Twelve months ago, the world was a different place. Since then, external factors have forced organizations to change the ways they get work done and lead their people. Businesses and talent have responded with incredible resiliency, flexibility, and ingenuity. Today, the global workplace has adapted to a new normal. But, what does this culture change mean for your organization?

Take a step back

As we near the end of this challenging year, take time to reflect. Most likely you were merely trying to survive this year. You wanted to keep your organization going and support your employees as you worked to fulfill your mission. It is nearly impossible to take an objective look at your people, processes, plans, and performance unless you stop. Give yourself the gift of pause, considering where your organization has been and where it is going.

If your vision and mission have shifted this year due to changing needs, your culture must follow suit. Here are some tips for focusing on culture change as we approach a New Year.

Start with assessments

Culture assessments are used to gauge the standard behaviors that define your organization—its systems, practices, and people. Regardless of when you last assessed your agency’s environment, completing a “culture check in” after such a transformative year is a good idea. Use such assessments to analyze your existing culture and determine a vision of what you want it to become.

Here are some culture assessments we recommend:

  • Organizational Culture Inventory (OCI). A product of 35 years of research, the OCI by Human Synergistics International (HSI) measures the attributes of your organizational culture most closely related to the behavior and performance of its members.
  • Organizational Effectiveness Inventory (OEI). A partner to the OCI, the OEI gives insight on the underlying structures, systems, technologies, and skills that shape your culture and how they can be modified at the individual, group, and organizational levels.
  • Covid-19 Culture Mirror. In addition to its widely used OCI and OEI assessments, HSI now offers a Covid-19 Culture Mirror. This three-step process helps you evaluate how the recent pandemic has changed your organization, identify what elements of this change you wish to preserve, and create adaptation strategies to respond effectively to future challenges.

You can learn more about all of these assessments here.

Create an action plan

Culture assessments give you the data needed for change. As you strategize where you want to take your culture in 2021, create a plan for getting there. This roadmap includes the following steps:

  • Coaching. Identify one-on-one coaching for key organizational roles, coupled with team coaching. The purpose of coaching in the context of culture change is to improve employee and organizational resiliency and effectiveness. It enables individuals to unlock the talents, capabilities, experiences, and expertise needed for ongoing renewal in the midst of continuous change.
  • Training. Build a pathway for culture change using employee training. The best talent development occurs when people have access to an ecosystem in which they can co-create learning with employers. This environment includes a variety of training modalities, delivery channels, and performance support tools from which employees can choose.
  • Expert guidance. Sometimes outside help is the missing piece to lasting culture change. As a leader, adopting tunnel vision can be necessary for survival in times of chaos. But such laser focus on what is immediately ahead also blinds you to what is happening all around you. An experienced and objective outside party can help you to understand your people, create a plan, and uncover better processes.

As you take time to reflect on where you are today and where you are going next year, Brighter Strategies is here to help. We support our clients through customized organizational development and change management work. Contact us today to learn more.

How to Improve Operations & Culture After the Pandemic

The Covid-19 crisis caused many organizations to regroup quickly. Now that a few months have passed, it’s time to evaluate your current culture. What organizational behaviors have you adopted? What elements of your culture have changed? Which of these changes do you want to keep going forward? This worksheet walks you through an exercise to help you determine your next steps.

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What Do You Want to Keep When the Pandemic is Over ebook