You Got Your Culture Assessment Results, Now What?

November 14, 2021
November 14, 2021 Jamie Notter

It’s super interesting when you first see the results of your culture assessment, but after a little while, a realization starts to sink in:

The data are awesome, but what do we DO with them?

That question applies to every culture assessment on the market. They all will tell you something interesting about your culture, but it will be up to you to figure out what to do about it.

Some culture assessments build into their model some automated recommendations for action steps, and we think this is a mistake. That algorithm is based on research on other people’s organizations. When sharpening your culture, you shouldn’t follow the average of what everybody else did.

What you need to do is:

(1) figure out where your current culture is getting in the way of your success, and

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(2) change the culture so it is better aligned with success.

We do step 1 in what we call our Culture Priorities Workshop. We have an internal culture team dig into the culture assessment data, looking for patterns that they hadn’t seen before. Then we ask them to identify the true success drivers of the organization—what is your secret sauce, what are the factors that have a disproportionate impact on your success? As they look at that picture, they are able to develop a short list of culture priorities—areas of your culture that need attention right now in order to become more successful.

Then in step 2 we help them build a playbook of culture change action items that will move the needle in those priority areas. Many people think culture change is mysteriously difficult, and it’s not. You just change the way you do things to reflect the new cultural direction.

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If you realize that your culture is one where everyone expects to be in every meeting—but that’s making you too slow and you’re missing opportunities—then you might introduce a “play” that more clearly defines decision-making roles. Some plays are super easy to implement (like doing a monthly all-hands meeting) and some might take a long time (building out a full project management system). But they all change your culture because they clarify what’s valued in a way that drives success.

If you don’t change your culture based on the results of an assessment, then you’ve missed an opportunity. That’s why we wrap our assessment into our culture design project that gets you to some actual change.

Jamie Notter

Jamie is an author and growth strategist at PROPEL, where he helps leaders integrate culture, strategy, and execution to achieve breakthrough performance and impact. He brings twenty-five years of experience to his work designing culture-driven businesses, and has specialized along the way in areas like conflict resolution and generations. Jamie is also the co-author of three books—Humanize, When Millennials Take Over, and The Non-Obvious Guide to Employee Engagement—and holds a Master’s in conflict resolution from George Mason and a certificate in Organization Development from Georgetown, where he serves as adjunct faculty.
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