You Asked, We Answered
We know people have a great deal of questions when they begin to search for the right organizational consultant. With that in mind, we want to answer the most commonly asked questions that we get during calls of inquiry here on this webpage.
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How do you define organizational culture?
Organizational culture arises from the beliefs and values that are most central to organizational life. Culture is often best understood through the lens of a core set of values often found on the company’s website or the HR manual, alongside the mission and vision statements. Organizations who believe a rich culture is foundational to their success need to consider how they will measure the culture to ensure the vast majority of the team understand and embrace the stated values.
Discover if your team is focused on culture and aligned with organizational values. You might begin by simply asking the following question:
“How would you define the culture at work?”
You might find the answers to be quite telling.
You may find yourself getting answers such as, “We have a great deal of teamwork here,” or “I appreciate the time I’m given to care for the residents.” If compassion and teamwork are core values for you, you know you are doing a good job in defining the culture for the team.
Conversely, if you hear statements such as, “What do you mean by culture?”; “I think we have a lot of diversity here”; or “It could be better,” you would quickly learn that the team is unclear by what you mean by culture, and it could indicate you have some deeper work to do.
If you are looking for a fuller understanding of how the team is experiencing the organizational culture, it might be time to learn more about the benefits of conducting a full cultural assessment. Conversations around the importance of culture and the expected values can differ greatly from department to department in any given organization, and a formal assessment would show the strengths as well as the gaps in each individual department.
In order to have a health and sustained culture, it must be something everyone in the organization can understand and define. If you are not intentional about defining culture, establishing values, and setting expectations, there will be a culture. And, it may surprise you.
Why do we need to define our values?
This is a question we have received regularly so it’s important to address it here. We believe it is incredibly important to take time to define words. If we were working with a team to enhance employee engagement, we begin that work by defining what engagement should look like and end with a list of expected engaged behaviors that are shared with every single member of the team.
An item that might make the list of expected behaviors could be “We will look residents, guests, and team members in the eye and say hello.” We often hear someone from the workgroup say something like, “Why in the world does that need to be on the list? Everyone should know this is expected for an organization that has a focus on hospitality.”
The very simple answer is that everyone must be clearly instructed in what engagement looks like so that expectations are concise and clear. We can sometimes forget that we have not all been taught or learned the same values.
We will give you an example of one reason this is so critical to success. Let’s say you have identified the following values to guide how you will achieve the mission and vision of your organization:
- Team Oriented
- Driven by Integrity
People might be inclined to look over this list and say, “These values make sense; they drive culture and can be easily understood by all.” You might even create a values campaign to make sure you get the word out. You have spent a great deal of effort communicating to the team members and believe they know what is important. You feel you have set the stage of expectation and will move forward in holding people accountable to uphold the prioritized values.
Here’s where we need a bit of caution. Let’s look at this is another light. Would we all truly arrive at the same definition of these values based on various backgrounds? What if you were:
- Raised by a grandparent who had wisdom and financial resources to provide for all of your basic needs and then some?
- Raised by both of your parents, yet finances were so limited your parents both needed to work two jobs to provide for the family?
- Raised in a family that looked “normal” to all the neighbors but had addiction issues that made life anything but “normal”?
We could go on and on. You see, the experiences we have before starting a job with any particular organization often forms our values and makes them an essential part of us. If an organization doesn’t take the time to define the value, show what it looks like and hold the team accountable for bringing those values to work every day, we most likely won’t achieve the culture we desire. Culture is a constant work in progress.
What does it cost?
We begin with a promise of transparency. We will be upfront and forthcoming about the cost. While there are aspects of proposals that are common, no two engagements look exactly alike. The point is, “It all starts with a conversation.”
And that costs you nothing.
We offer price ranges when we can, but it is important to also understand the cost of any engagement depends on a number of factors:
- Which survey or assessment instruments are needed or useful?
- What type of work is required?
- What is the level of research suggested?
- How many contact hours are included?
- What do we actually deliver to you?
We are committed to a careful process of discovery, beginning each conversation, understanding first what is important to you. What is it that you want to discover or improve within the organization? Then, taking into account the scope of work and the complexity of the task, we tailor a proposal that we believe gives you the best opportunity for achieving success. Typical engagement ranges include:
Cultural Values Assessments: $4,000 to $35,000
Value and Culture Team Sessions: $5,000 to $7,500
Board Strategy Session: $7,500 to $15,000
Board Tune-Up Workshops: $2,500 to $5,000
Focus Groups: $3,500 to $4,000 (per session)
Team Member Leadership Development: $25,000 (year-long)
Individual Leadership Development and Coaching: $400 (per month)
What happens if I can’t afford the work as proposed?
Another good question.
We talk some more. Together, we decide what a scaled project might look like given the resources you have to invest and your organizational priorities. We also offer subscription and coaching agreements that may fit a need that you have now, even with constrained resources. This may mean providing leadership support to middle managers, or creating front-line ambassadors. It may mean a mini-survey to the pulse on a particular issue or dynamic. Another benefit to a subscription model is that they are a month-to-month agreement. This is a great way to try things out before committing to a longer term engagement.
It gets back to why we think those conversations are free. Through relationships, we discover together what really matters and move forward together to achieve value and success.