Do You Know Where to Look to Make Culture Your Competitive Advantage?

As organisations chart a course forward in today’s context of uncertainty and rapid change, culture is more important than ever. Culture is the way we do business; ‘how things are done around here’. It is what we say and do, the decisions we make. You see it in everything that happens in an organisation, tangible and intangible.

A recent AHRI survey “Five Hard Truths About Workplace Culture” published August 2020 found:

  • 90% of respondents said they either agree or strongly agree that their organisation’s culture is critical to the successful execution of strategy.
  • 92% either agree or strongly agree that their organisation should make the best use of its human capital, yet only 20% agree or strongly agree that their culture currently reflects this.

What we do today to understand and shift culture is failing us.

In this changing world of work an organisation’s ability to adapt is critical to success. As Jack Welch famously said “An organisation’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into rapid action, is the ultimate competitive advantage”. Now more than ever, knowing where and how to adapt is the difference between success and failure.

A culture anchored on purpose provides the foundation to align how you do business with who you are. Your purpose, and principles, provide a unified and enduring direction and focus as you adapt. Strategy, markets, products and even people change, but purpose provides the ‘north star’ that remains constant and gives clarity about what is expected and how to do business. It helps reduce energy sapping confusion about the gap between what is said and what is done. A common example is where leaders with a multi-million dollar delegation (message = you are trusted with major financial decisions in your portfolio) have to get approval for minor travel expenses (message = you are not trusted to manage your own portfolio).

Today organisations are missing the culture insights to know where to focus and adapt. Leaders need different tools to monitor culture and take meaningful action. Employee feedback is not enough. Surveys are limited by bias, perception lag and many complain of survey fatigue. Interviews and focus groups are costly and slow. In a time when organisations have more data than ever before they are suffering from data overwhelm, and struggle to unearth valuable insights.

The challenge is to move beyond single source and point-in-time analysis. Unique and accurate views of culture require a new lens for our changing context. Actionable insights delivered in a live online pokies for real money and dynamic way, based on data from across organisational silos; employee, customer, business operations, finance, risk, as well as data from outside the organisation; that enable organisations to adapt at pace is the way of the future.

There are many examples of organisations that have out-performed competitors citing a strong culture based on their purpose as core to their success. There are also many organisations that, with the benefit of hindsight, realise they missed critical culture insights when they needed them. Had they been looking at the right data, through the right lens, they may have avoided costly operational and reputational damage.

As you chart a path forward in today’s fast-changing and uncertain context, how confident are you that you know:

  • what works and should be nurtured in your culture, and what needs to shift,
  • you won’t be hit with any surprises,
  • what you do and how you do it is aligned with who you are and why you’re here,
  • what happens in your organisation is what should be happening?

Chloe Hawcroft is the Co-Founder and CEO of QOIA. She has 20+ years helping leaders create high performance through culture and behaviour change. An Organisational Psychologist by trade, Chloe co-founded QOIA because she believes that too much of what we do is what we’ve always done, even when it doesn’t work. It is time to ask different questions and use data-driven insights to take action where it matters most.

QOIA equips organisations with the critical culture insights to adapt quickly and stay competitive in today’s fast changing context. We do this through QOIA’s proprietary Culture Management process. Culture Management involves monitoring culture by connecting whole-of-organisation data (data that organisations already have). Live and dynamic data driven insights inform practical actions focused on what is most important. Leaders at all levels receive guided actions, reinforced with behavioural nudges, and the ability to track impact and adapt in real-time.