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When culture obstructs the assessment of culture

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Badconsultant has been spending some time this last couple of weeks analyzing a corporate culture, deriving meaningful findings from disparate data sources

[% time deployed on bathroom usage correlated to profitability, anyone… Anyone?]

and building the convincing argument that a) further work will undoubtedly be necessary to truly provide all nuances of the culture in question; and b) that if the organization in question would just consider deploying our proprietary Integratamatrix(®) metrics framework, then this task need never be repeated.

[Annual deployment and license fee structure available on demand]

All in all, great fun – in a way that only defining the undefinable can be considered great fun. Because it’s all quite simple really.

Yet they want it to be so complex.

So, when you show the basics in easily digestible pie charts, somehow you are viewed as an alchemic visionary of the most grand order – Nostradamus, perhaps. But then, we have spoken before about the subversive and powerful nature of the mystical tool that is Powerpoint – and when you add the incendiary combination of Excel charts, well it just doesn’t get much better.

[Except when someone else has generated the content you’re getting the credit for]

That’s the beauty of analysis, you see… You get the chance to tell the story your own way, present facts to back it up and make it neat-pretty(®) – and suddenly you get greeted as the most insightful human being on earth.

[Unless of course, you’re a member of staff, in which case expect to be shot in the way that only messengers can truly be shot]

All of which isn’t the point of this post. The point is that all of the analysis, all of the cutting, slicing, dicing, chunking, swiping, ducking, weaving, dodging, diving, all of it… Only told our client what they already knew. Which is money for old rope where badconsultant comes from. That said, though, this badconsultant got to thinking how powerful the drag of inertia is upon corporate culture.

They already knew… Their response was “Yup, that’s us all right”.

Not a mention of change or willingness to consider options for change.

Not that they asked us for that – the Statement of Work was clearly to analyze and assess, not to change. And who are we to challenge the Statement of Work?

[especially when we can bill for the next piece of work]

So, with little further ado, here are our 3 watch-outs for cultural assessment and implications for change:

  1. The culture is staring everyone in the face already – the analysis is an avoidance/denial – it provides nothing further than an excuse for avoidance of action
  2. The people paying the bill have the most to lose from changing the culture (if not, then you are consulting with a company that wouldn’t ever ask you to complete a cultural analysis)
  3. The people most suffering from the impact of a broken culture are the ones who won’t get to provide input to the analysis

Keep these 3 watch-outs in your back pocket as you go forward, even if for no other reason than when you attend the executive leadership meeting where the question is asked “Yes, but how do we know we aren’t lying?”