Assessing Our Cultural Health

Organizational culture is the behavior of humans within an organization and the meaning that people attach to those behaviors.Culture includes the organization’s vision, values, norms, systems, symbols, language, assumptions, beliefs, and habits.  (

I’ve recently had the opportunity to address audiences on the issues of cultural health. This topic is important on many levels: employee engagement, recruitment of talented employees, retention of valuable associates and on and on.  Many assessments are available to use if an organization wants to assess its health, and here are some of the areas that should be considered in the assessment:

  1. Organization rules and habits: What are our written and unwritten rules, and how does each rule serve us?
  2. Do we demonstrate responsible accountability at all levels of the organization?
  3. Is our organization comfortable with ongoing change, and do we manage change well?
  4. Do we operate in an open communication system – issues are directly addressed and no organizational secrets are kept?
  5. Do members of our organization trust each other, and do we consistently work to build and maintain trust?
  6. Does each associate know how her or his work matters? Do people know their work has purpose?
  7. Do we effectively recognize people on an ongoing basis?
  8. Does our physical environment reflect care and respect for our employees?
  9. Do we have a rigorous plan for career development and succession?
  10. Have we created a learning organization in which people are encouraged to learn and grow their talents?
  11. Do we serve our larger community in any meaningful way?
  12. Do we provide mentors and coaching supervisors to our employees?
  13. Do we stress and facilitate health and wellness in the workplace?
  14. Do we promote, by our actions and policies, work/life balance?
  15. Are we consistently creating a feedback-rich culture?
  16. Is our senior leadership team committed to their own cohesiveness, alignment and high performance?

 This list is not complete; the uniqueness of each organization should be reflected in the final assessment. What is true for every organization is:

 - Whether we are aware of it or not, our behaviors create our culture.

- Creating cultural health takes attention and work!

- Senior leadership is most responsible for creating a healthy way forward.

Pause and assess your culture. Hold on to that which is working, and be fearless to change that which limits your success.


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