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February 2014 • SMT Magazine 85 Denison's model also allows cultures to be described broadly as externally or internally focused as well as flexible versus stable. The model has been typically used to diagnose cul- tural problems in organizations and determine whether an organization is healthy or not. Use this model and other descriptions to under- stand your company culture. Healthy Culture Do you want your organization to be healthy or unhealthy? This is an easy question to an- swer. Organizations should strive for a healthy organizational culture to maximize benefits and increase productivity, growth, and efficiency, as well as to reduce counterproductive behavior and turnover of employees. Consider this list of healthy culture characteristics: • Appreciation for diversity • Fairness and respect • Employee pride and enthusiasm • Equal opportunity for growth • Strong communication • Leadership, direction and purpose • Competitive advantages in industry • Low turnover rates • Employee Investment learning and training Using employee surveys, in- terviews, focus groups, obser- vation, and other internal research, assess your organi- zation in these areas. How does your company score relative to this list? If you scored well then keep do- ing what is working. If you scored poor then this and Denison's model becomes your priority list for action. Taking baby steps in each of these areas will strengthen your organizational culture. The decisions will come from the top, but the real impact will come from the employees. Strong cultures possess high employee involvement, strong in- ternal communications and an acceptance and encouragement of a healthy level of risk-taking in order to achieve innovation. Organizations with adaptive cultures achieve more success since they listen to employees and customers, take risks and initiate needed change. Culture Change When an organization does not possess a healthy culture or requires some kind of orga- nizational culture change, the process can be daunting. Often, when the pain of employee turnover and failure to meet specific goals and results becomes significant, culture change be- comes unavoidable. With the assessment complete and clear identification of the desired culture complete, a change process can be designed. Culture change is impacted by a number of elements, including company history, industry, competition, size of organization, and reason for the culture change. Corporate culture is often hard to change and employees will require time to adjust to the new way of behaving. This is especially true of companies who had a long established culture. Changing corporate culture will be a long-term project. The change will be more impacted by leader- ship than management. Informal leaders within the company have a large impact on the change process. Also, culture is not "managed in" but instead occurs when leaders set the tone, pace, and expectation. Leaders may choose to fol- low the following change process suggestions. First, formulate a clear strategic vi- sion to provide the intention and direction for the culture change. This first step is criti- cal. Since the change process can take months or years, it is too costly for morale to start and stop or to change direc- tions frequently. Second, show senior leader commitment. Employees will be loyal to the existing culture even if it is weak. True commitment will give them confidence in the desired culture and encour- agement to make the necessary changes. EVolUTIoNArY SolUTIoNS We are IN THIS TOGeTHer! continues Often, when the pain of employee turnover and failure to meet specific goals and results becomes significant, culture change becomes unavoidable. " "

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