As we embark on a journey, it is essential to know where we’re coming from to figure out how to get to our goals. Having accurate information right from the start is key to determine the magnitude of the challenge ahead.
In that context, culture is a key area to assess. More than a novelty, culture is a powerful way to drive behavior: as reported by Gallup, companies with great cultures could see up to 59% higher revenue per employee. As an aspect that’s transversal to every dimension of a company, culture can (and should!) be quantified on a regular basis: it’s just a matter of knowing what to measure and building the tools necessary to do the job.
Fortunately, in our nearly 20 years of experience, that’s a path we have walked more than once. Join us in this article to discover the benefits of conducting a Cultural Audit at any point in your journey, and what are the elements of your company that surprisingly have an outsized impact on your culture.
What is a Cultural Audit?
When working with companies on their cultural journeys, it is common for the Founders and CEOs to require an approach that’s measurable and structured. We also believe that complete information is essential to successfully conduct cultural work at any scale. For these reasons, we created frameworks suitable for every step of the way, right from the beginning.
A Cultural Audit is a process that will help you assess in detail what your culture is looking like at the moment. With an accurate, multi-layered approach, a Cultural Audit gives you a living and breathing depiction of everything that’s going on in your culture, with an in-depth analysis that includes:
The Foundation: How strong are you as a unit?
The first phase of a Cultural Audit consists of a thorough assessment of the different dimensions of your company’s structure and how they interact with your cultural foundation. In particular, the ownership structure has a significant impact on the culture, and this goes both ways: just like strong misalignments can be a threat to the success of the venture, being able to count on a supportive Board and an Investor lineup that shares your beliefs has the potential to fuel outstanding achievements.
In this first step, the Management, the Board, the Investors and the Founders are mapped out in detail as we evaluate their roles, their visions, their levels of alignment with the culture, and how they function as a unit.
The Cultural Strength: How thriving is your current culture?
The next step of a Cultural Audit involves evaluating the state of your culture itself. From your cultural assets and your rituals to an analysis of your goals and KPIs, one of the objectives of this phase is discovering where your culture is on a scale from problematic to thriving.
A significant part of evaluating your cultural strength is assessing the performance alignment in your team members and how they are interacting with your culture, as well as the leadership style alignment in every leader within the company.
This process will help you discover how your culture is aligned with your values and your purpose. But most importantly, it will allow you to identify what major roadblocks or challenges are having an outsized negative impact. From there, you can craft a strategy that addresses them directly.
The Cultural Scalability: How scalable is your culture?
Once you have assessed the cultural alignment in your key structure and the state of the culture itself, it’s time to plan for the future. The third phase consists of an in-depth look at how to effectively recruit, train, and measure culture as you scale. This will allow you to understand where you are with your scalability initiatives in connection to culture and help you ensure that your company continues to have a thriving culture by welcoming value-aligned top talent and investing in their development.
The Bottom Line
Conducting a Cultural Audit will help you evaluate aspects like how far you have come in building a thriving company culture and how effectively you are engaging and leading your top talent. But most importantly, a Cultural Audit will uncover whether there are any challenges or liabilities in your culture that could be jeopardizing the fate of your company both in the short and long term. Getting a comprehensive analysis of these challenges allows you, as a Leader, to act upon them wisely and minimize the possibility of them compromising the future of the company.
A Cultural Audit is also the necessary first step to kickstart a transformation process towards your dream culture. A culture where excellence is the standard, where your talent is highly engaged and excited about collaborating and contributing to your vision, and that naturally attracts the people you want in your team. A thriving culture is possible, because culture can be designed. But it takes the decision and the courage to design it, and to design it well.
Over nearly 20 years of experience helping Founders and CEOs design, redesign and scale thriving cultures, we have developed and perfected a framework that helps companies start their cultural journeys off with a thorough understanding of where they are standing. A Cultural Audit is the ideal first step for any Leader looking to take their culture to the next level.
A High Performance Culture can be designed and scaled