Taking an interest in successful innovation is the first step toward a positive outcome and an overall shift in an organisation. Lean startup methodologies and young startups who have embraced the ideas and probable solutions with which they are associated are becoming the norm, so staying rooted in traditional business practices is no longer a smart option. However, there is no reason that larger corporations and even smaller teams within those organisations cannot be viable environments where innovation can also be fostered. A big step toward achieving this is to learn how to measure culture in intuitive, approachable ways.
But how is culture determined, and once it is, how are changes implemented?
Keep reading to find out and learn even more ways to coach innovation!
What Is the Definition of Culture?
Culture within the workplace can mean different things to different people, but one thing is for certain: it is often the determining factor in whether innovation is achieved, or whether the progress eventually comes to a standstill. The building blocks can be stacked, but without a plan to continue the work, a true innovative environment may never be fully achieved.
By its most popular definition, culture within an office or any other organisation can simply be described as the way things are done. Think along the lines of Standard Operating Procedures, but much more personal, and constantly changing and growing with the ebb and flow of the overall environment.
Culture can include a number of things, and may often be hard to put into words. When hearing a team member say, “That’s not the proper protocol,” that’s a specific reference to the company’s culture. If something goes directly against the mood, the language, the hierarchy or other obvious factors, then it is in opposition to the culture.
A few more examples of an organisational culture include:
- Teamwork – Within this type of culture, highlighting the faults of others to appear more successful rarely occurs. An organisational culture will focus on teamwork, and helping others within the department. If a co-worker needs nurturing, someone will step in and assist. This is also a key component to intrapreneurship, in which an employee will function — often independently — as one would when running his or her own company.
- Taking risks – The thrill of trying to “do something first” is ever present, so brainstorming sessions and taking risks is a regular part of an organisation’s culture when they are striving to incorporate innovation.
- Getting results – In this culture, it’s not only important to get the job done, but to keep an eye on the competition as well. Achievements are noted and even rewarded, to breed an air of positive compensation that can truly help structure an organisational culture.
- Infrastructure – A hierarchy is often very important to a culture, as it sets the structure for teams and the multiple ranks that exist among them. While taking risks and thinking outside of the box are definitely encouraged, maintaining a structure in doing so is extremely important on the organisational side, as well as to continue implementing innovation.
How to Measure Organisational Culture
As a company works its way through innovation and understand the environment of an organisation, developing techniques that will help in learning how to measure organisational culture will be imperative.
When beginning to learn how to measure culture, there are numerous things to keep in mind, but the most important is that each area within an organisation must be inspected — element by element. In doing so, it’s also ideal to keep in mind exactly what the end result should be and what the organisation is hoping to achieve. Some area will measure higher than others, and those aspects of the culture can be instantly identified as models to be followed. When an area is measured lower when compared to the standard that would like to be met, then that is an area to target in the implementation of an organisational culture and the success of innovation.
Measure Culture and Attain Feedback
Once you successfully measure culture within an organisation, it doesn’t stop there. Culture should be measured at least every six months, and for several important reasons.
- The culture may have changed – A lot can happen within six months, including the hiring of new team members or the acquisition of high-caliber, often time-consuming clients. It doesn’t take much to challenge an environment with an opposing attitude from a new employee or someone who has move over to another team or project. Accordingly, a client who requires a certain behavior may also create the framework for a change in culture.
- Reactions to the actual measurements may be different – As time progresses and the organisation actually understands how to measure culture and what properties to look for, those involved in the process may grow more critical. As the conversation continues, it may become simpler to identify areas which require improvement.
- If any leadership positions change – There are few things that can impact the culture of a company more than new leadership, or even changes made within the existing hierarchy. It may take a leader a while to adjust the already existing culture and, should the culture change due to this, it will need to be assessed.
- How feedback can alter the measurements and the culture itself – It’s always important to receive feedback for any new implementation, and measuring the organisational culture is no different. Feedback can also affect the manner in which the culture is measured in the future, discovering more ways for a direct impact.
Measuring Culture Change and How It Supports Innovation
Measuring culture or how it changes can be more actionable, directly affecting innovation and the success of its implementation within the organisation. Developing innovation techniques is a profitable step, but it requires continued support. The ideas that take root during innovation can easily whither if they aren’t tended, and keenly observing the organisational culture and continuing to measure it regularly will help maintain the changes that have already been introduced, as well as determine if they are still flourishing.
In short, the most important facet of innovation within an organisation is that it not be forgotten in six months, or that maintaining its key factors becomes somewhat less of a focus over time. This is why identifying how to measure culture is so significant.
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