Where Are Organizations the Most Traditional?

We’ve been collecting culture data for about two years now, and while we don’t have enough to provide truly statistically significant benchmarks (and don’t get me started, because I’m not sure culture benchmarks is the direction we want to go), we do, at least, have an early picture of where organizational cultures are falling these days along the continuum of traditional to futurist.

In our model, we measure 8 Culture Makers, which break down into 64 unique Building Blocks of culture. So far, the average score for all of them combined ends up right where we thought it would: smack in the middle of the “Contemporary” range (about 6.3 out of 10).

But there is quite a range among the individual Building Blocks—from 5.2 to 7.9, to be exact. Passion and Purpose is at 7.9, which falls into our “Futurist” category. So what is that lowest-scoring block, down at 5.2 (which is still contemporary, but on the edge of what we call “traditionalist”)?

People-Centric Solutions.

Do you design your organization around the needs of the employees, or is it around the needs of management? In traditional management (a la mid 20th century), the needs of employees weren’t particularly considered much. Management called the shots without their input or their interests in mind, for the most part. In our research into the future of work, we see organizations actually putting the needs of employees first. So have we not evolved at all from the management of the 1950s?

Not exactly. One of the other building blocks that we measure is “Tailored Responses.” In other words, does the organization actually consider the unique needs of individuals and respond to them. It’s similar to the people-centric solutions Block, but Tailored responses focuses on responses to individuals, whereas People-Centric Solutions is about the design of the organization. Interestingly, Tailored Responses scores a 6.8 overall—contemporary, and even a few tenths above the overall average. We are evolving when it comes to paying attention to the needs of our employees, but that evolution hasn’t quite reached the world of organizational design.

These are the kinds of things you need to think about when it comes to culture management. It’s not about core values, folks. It’s about aligning culture with what makes you successful, and that requires a deeper understanding of what your culture really is.

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