What’s Your Organizational Operating System?

Where do your loyalties lie?

Mac or PC?

For most people, they are staunchly one or the other and their motivations can come from a deep love for the one they are loyal to or intense dislike for the one they don’t use.

These days the conflict between Mac and PC is multifaceted, but the origins of the conflict go back to their primary difference: their operating systems. Most people formed their affinity over their preference on the operating system they liked, which was often more influenced by what they were familiar with rather than an objective analysis of which one was truly better. Despite the programs offered, the hardware, the look and feel of the products, most people offered their loyalties to the system in the background that they identified with.

Well, today, this is still happening every time someone comes into contact with your organization. Whether you run a finance group, a hair salon, a dog training school, a church, or a fitness center, many people decide whether or not they are going to be loyal to you because of your operating system…your culture.

So, how is your culture? Is it healthy? Do you know how to assess the health of your organization? If it isn’t healthy, how do you fix it?

Many organizations are beginning to ask these questions, and maybe you lead or are a part of one that is wrestling with this issue. As Millennials are moving into the consumer market, many organizations are beginning to look at their culture and assess whether or not they are attractive to Millennial customers.

At Modern Inklings, we use a tool called the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (Cameron & Quinn, 2011).  Through a methodical assessment of an organization, we determine whether their culture type running in the background is a clan (collaborative), adhocracy (creative), controlling (hierarchy), or market (competing). Once an organization is assessed and their primary culture type is determined, then a strategic plan can be discussed to either enhance the findings to focus on magnifying the strengths of that type or move from an undesired type to one that is a little more desirable.

One thing we want Field Notes to provide you is practical tools to apply to your organization for immediate success. So, let’s do a preliminary assessment of your culture with a few questions:

  1. What does your organization value the most?
    1. efficiency and timeliness
    1. goal achievement and profitability
    1. innovation and transformation
    1. loyalty and communication
  2. What kind of leader are you?
    1. coordinator and organizer
    1. competitor and producer
    1. visionary and entrepreneur
    1. mentor and team builder
  3. What is your organization’s theory of effectiveness?
    1. efficiency and capable processes produce effectiveness
    1. internal competition and customer focus produce effectiveness
    1. new resources and innovation produce effectiveness
    1. participation and individual development produce effectiveness

Score your answers by matching the points of your choices (if you picked #3 for question 1, you have 3 points. If you picked #4 for question 2, you now have 7 points. And so on…)

Here is a rudimentary analysis of your culture:

  • if you scored 1-3 you most likely have a Hierarchy culture based on control through systems and processes
  • if you scored 4-6 you most likely have a Market culture based on competition through sales goals, incentives, and perks
  • if you scored 7-9 you most likely have an Adhocracy culture based on being creative and on the cutting edge of ideas
  • if you scored 10-12 you most likely have a Clan culture based on collaboration and individual success being tied to team success

Now, this is a three-question assessment of a very complex part of who you are as an organization, but I hope it gives you just a little taste of how the OCAI works. Most of all, I hope you can see that assessing your culture and creating a strategic plan to either enhance or change your culture is not as daunting a task as it may seem. It is a matter of being aware of where your organization is, where you want it to go, and creating a clear and intentional plan to get there.

Where is your organizational culture? Share in the comments where you are and maybe where you would like to be.

Remember, your operating system helps people decide whether or not they want to be your customer, much more than the goods or services you are offering.

Purchase Resources Referenced

If you would like to explore the OCAI and the Competing Values Framework, you can click on the image below and purchase the book to start a comprehensive assessment of your own organizational culture.

 Diagnosing and Changing Organizational Culture: Based on the Competing Values Framework by Kim Cameron & Robert E. Quinn

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