Is there an organizational culture assessment instrument to help identify and define your company’s core culture?

Organizational culture assessments are used to identify the principles and values that are core to the culture of an organization. If you are planning to conduct an assessment, what organizational culture assessment instrument or process do you use?

Is there an organizational culture assessment instrument to help you define your organization’s foundational principles and values? Is there some list of questions that can be used in a survey to simplify the process?

I wish the answer was yes, but the truth is no generic instrument will capture your organization’s distinctive culture. There are a number of instruments that say they define culture, but in reality, it’s not your distinctive principles and values that these instruments measure. Instead, they offer a set of pre-determined values that are used to gauge a description of your organization. No generic instrument is going to capture the language and terminology that insiders use and understand as their guiding Philosophy.

So what do you do if no generic organizational culture assessment instrument can give you the unique description of your organization’s personality and character? If you don’t identify and define your valued beliefs, how can you be sure employees will be striving each day to be the best at practicing these prime principles?

Use a process rather than a generic organizational culture assessment instrument.

Rather than a generic survey, a process is needed that extracts the principles and values that uniquely define your organization’s core culture. The process involves a series of steps to extract your organization’s vital core.

The process has three stages:

  1. Step One: Conduct interviews and/or open-ended surveys with key leadership to uncover the principles and values that they see as core to the culture. Sometimes focus groups, using a cross-section of employees, are also helpful to see how others throughout the organization define the organization’s guiding principles. You can learn more about the types of organizational culture assessment questions to ask at this link.
  2. Step Two: Next, construct and implement a closed-ended customized survey based on the information gathered in Step One. Yes, list all reasonable options derived from your qualitative data gathering. Now is the time for all employees to reveal how they view the organization’s principles and values—by reacting to the options on this customized survey.
  3. Step Three: Finally, conduct a facilitated session with the leadership team to review all the information collected and make decisions on the core culture.

Using this process, you will define your organization’s core culture, share it with everyone in the organization and begin the ongoing journey of aligning all practices and projections with the core culture. First, you must clarify who you are as an organization. Next, you must integrate the principles and values in everything you do. Build your Culture of Distinction by defining your distinctive character and practicing the principles that drive success.