Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cultural Assessment: A Vital Part of the Road Map to Success for Your Organization

Have you ever noticed how preoccupied businesses are with communicating their image? Marketing plans, slogans, advertising strategies—all designed to convey who they are and where they’re going.

How about you? Have you been working on a long-range plan? Maybe you’ve thought about creating a new slogan or logo to give you a fresh outlook.

On the surface, those things look great. However, when it comes to long-range planning, there’s a vital question to ask: What if you don’t make it? More to the point, what if you can’t make it?

The simple truth is this: It’s impossible to get to where you want to go—to reach your goals as an organization—if you don’t know where you are to begin with.

Let’s say that your business has been going gangbusters for several years, when suddenly a game changer appears. One or more competitors arrive on the scene with new business or operating models that change the marketplace for your industry. How well would your company respond such a dynamic challenge?

Think of the leaders and team members in your organization. How prepared are they to compete in this fast-moving, digital age—to adapt swiftly, effectively and collaboratively to keep your company in the game?

I recently read an article suggesting that global Internet traffic will increase eight-fold by 2025. This, after it had already surged 18-fold since 2005! The pace of change in business and technology today is mind-boggling. It’s a challenge to keep up, let alone get ahead.

That’s why it’s important to do a cultural assessment, to determine what your company’s strengths are and how prepared you are for the challenges you will face. What opportunities do you and your leadership team see for your company? Likewise, what are the challenges that threaten your business? Are you able to adapt to those? You need to know where you stand—right now, today.

Many of the decisions that you and your leadership team are going to make could very well be “bet your company” decisions; in other words, the very future of your organization is at stake! That’s why it is imperative to know if you have a leadership team and a corporate culture that will rise to the challenges at hand.

As a leader, it is your responsibility to initiate the assessment process. Individually and organizationally, it’s important for everyone to clearly understand how success is going to be measured, as well as how and why adjustments will need to be made. Set the tone by starting with your self, and asking others on the management to do the same.

For many years companies were encouraged to develop five-year plans as a road map for success. But times have changed; today, a two-year or three-year strategy is recommended, due to the rapid pace of change in our technology-driven world.

Do you have a plan? Think about how you can involve your entire organization, including management and employees, in the process of completing a cultural assessment. Determining where you are as an organization is the vital first step that will help you manage change effectively and bring about the results you desire.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself" — Henry Ford

Jim Ondrus pioneered the management concept of Leadership Transitioning. He is president of JA Ondrus, LLC, a Canton, Ohio executive coaching firm.