Organizational culture has often been imagined as a tree with deep roots. You don’t see the roots but they dictate the health of the tree. Often change efforts fail because they address only what is visible, the leaves and branches so to speak. But the deeply rooted beliefs, assumptions and stories upon which the organization is built are stronger and can outlast any superficial change initiative. Programs that are intended to foster cultural change often result in a disappointed workforce because the results are short term. Future change efforts are then viewed through a skeptical lens, sometimes earning the name “program-du-jour” by understandably cynical employees

Deep cultural change begins with leadership. As obvious as this may seem, it’s surprising how many companies don’t focus on leadership culture as the critical starting point. The change effort is doomed before it begins.

But HOW to begin? My research led me to the Leadership Circle’s Leadership Culture Survey. It lives up to its claim as the “most comprehensive assessment available on the overall health and effectiveness of the leadership in your organization.” It can quickly and easily measure the actual and ideal leadership culture of an organization. (The survey is administered over the internet, and results are immediately downloadable!)

Extensive research by the Leadership Circle proved that healthy culture creates a healthy bottom line, engaged employees and satisfied customers. Specifically:

In The Most Effective Cultures

  • Growth in revenue in the last year averaged 11%
  • Turnover rates averaged less than 3%
  • High employee satisfaction (typically in the 90%-95% range) and good customer satisfaction
  • Innovative and quick to adapt
  • Have leaders in the pipeline
  • High quality leaders at all levels in the organization
  • Candid, frequent communications that keep everyone informed
  • Culture is unified and strategically aligned

In The Least Effective Cultures

  • Growth in revenue in the last year averaged 2.7%
  • Turnover rates averaged close to 6%
  • Often don’t measure employee or customer satisfaction and/or results are only moderately high
  • Slow to respond to changing conditions
  • Have no succession plan
  • High quality leaders only at the top; middle management struggling
  • Inauthentic communications that hide results
  • Culture is fractionated and leaders are working in silos

I am certified in all of the Leadership Circle survey and assessments tools so If you feel your organization could benefit from a Leadership Culture Survey, please email me.