1. When we begin working in an organization,
people want to know, "Are we broken?"
Broken is only one possibility. Any one or all of these answers are appropriate:
The quality of work life can be improved, as it can in most organizations.
It is a natural cycle that successful organizations go through to rejuvenate themselves
to stay vital and effective.
Stress symptoms of employees can reach such a level that "going postal"
becomes a scary possibility. What we're trying to do is to make improvements that
will lower stress on everyone.
2. People are often used to the fad of the month. They want to know, "What
do you call this ODI stuff?"
We don't do fads. That's sometimes a disappointment for people because it means we don't have a familiar category.
This improvement effort is called organization development, which means people
are participating in a planned change process that will prepare them to handle the
inevitable changes that confront them now and in the future.
ODI is the organization developer of choice at the moment. ODI specializes in
helping organizations increase their quality of work life as a means of improving
employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction at the same time.
ODI is one organization within the general domain of continuous improvement. The
ODI specialty is cultural realignment.
3. Employees trying to maintain a cutting edge often ask, "How is this
different from TQM?"
All TQM programs suggest a change in culture first. Too frequently this is a forgotten or too lightly taken step.
TQM focused on forming teams to improve work processes. Organization development
focuses on the "culture" of organizations, which includes more than just
Organization development goes beyond the symptoms of poor communications, lagging
productivity, conflicts over resources, inattention to future capacity, and addresses
root causes of workplace dissatisfaction.
Empowerment (a concept central to TQM) of employees doesn't work unless we a "aligned"
(sharing a common purpose, values, vision, sense of our missions, and our current
4. People associate "culture" with "multicultural programs."
So they often ask, "What is culture anyway?"
The concept of culture is a simple one, but one that is often too close to every employee to recognize easily.
Culture is defined as the dynamic set of acceptable rules (often unspoken) that
governs success in relationships.
The use of "culture" is broader than just the "cultural diversity"
common meanings. We all have a culture that drives our behavior and need to understand
it better to work better together.
Culture is what we talk about when informing someone new to the organization about
the things they need to know to "get along" around here.
5. Two concepts that demand clarity are woven into our responses to, "So,
what is cultural realignment?"
From the front wheels of an automobile, to the bones in ones back, alignment is easy. Cultural realignment is harder!
It is making sure we are all headed in the same direction.
If help each of us understand our "fit" in the organization.
It lets us confirm that our daily work connects to our shared vision for the future.
Cultural realignment is a long-term synchronized program that embeds flexibility
and improves the culture of an organization so that work performed today builds capacity
for a successful future.
6. When people want to know what's in it for me, they really want to know,
"What good will this do?"
People are willing to work hard for a noble cause. Cultural realignment has a lofty outcome that many sense.
Outcomes will include improved individual performance, team productivity, work
group innovations and organization effectiveness and profitability.
The diagnostic survey uses the Unifying Human Systems (UHS) model to give us a
systemic way to discover exactly where we need to change and how to leverage the
greatest change for the effort spent.
7. "How is the UHS Survey different from the RGB Inventory?" is a
question often asked.
We combine trends from both the symptoms collected through the UHS and the natural style preference of the RGB to create a comprehensive profile of organization life.
The survey shows the places we most need to improve our "culture."
The RGB inventory shows how we are alike and how we are different from each other
in our workplace preferences.
"Reds" are focused internally and bring a great deal of precision to their work.
"Greens" are interested in strategies for implementing work in ways that link the outer focused "Blue" and in the inner focused "Red" segments of the workplace.
"Blues" are visionary, looking outward at the place the organization holds in the environment and at the direction the organization needs to be moving.
We each have quantities of Red, Green, and Blue, and we may be called upon to relate to each other from one of those orientations that is not our preferred modality.
Often, these qualities create culture as they come in contact with each other.
8. "Is the information about me shown in the RGB "psychological."
Does it need to be protected - held private?"
People often worry that the information we collect, especially the RGB results might be held against them.
RGB Workplace preferences do not measure your "personality" or your
"wellness" or your "social alignment." Those qualities are measures
used in the realm of psychological testing. The intent of the RGB, on the other hand,
is to give us a tool to discuss the different ways we view our work from our different
perspectives in the organization. The RGB also gives us a mechanism by which we can
change apparent "conflict" with each other into a dialog which will lead
us to a better understanding of our differences.
It is your choice whether to share your RGB results with anyone else. We do recommend
it when the individual is satisfied with the results, however.
9. "Why do I have to fill out the survey again?" We normally use
the same or similar survey at least twice.
Remember, the survey is usually constructed by a team of non-supervisory people from across the depth and breadth of the organization.
We will compare our "snapshot" of our culture last year with how we
see things now. It should be interesting to see where we have made changes and where
there is still room for improvement.
The survey is one way we can tell what return on investment we are getting for
this organization development activity.
Everyone's participation will make the results more accurate - will help create
a "true" picture of our organization.
10. "With heavy workloads and fewer people, how can we justify taking
the time to do this work?"
Normally, organizations that need cultural realignment the most are the ones that are overworked, and can't spare the time.
When an organization culture reaches specific levels on our scale, we know that
it can't correct itself and that outside assistance is required before some serious
very organization dysfunction occurs. We do not advocate intense corrective actions
when the numbers do not merit it.
Correcting an organization culture that's declining takes enormous effort. In
the absence of that effort, the cultural capacity will continue to decline. The smartest
thing to do, even though it is difficult, is to begin the process as early as possible
because it will never be more easily done - conditions will worsen.
11. "How long does it take to correct a culture in decline?"
There are at least three variables: The effort the organization exerts, the severity of the current conditions, and the pace/tempo of the intervention.
Normally, it takes from 18 to 24 months to begin to show a reversal of a declining
Normally, about a 10% increase can be expected the first year with reasonable
effort expended by the organization.
The slowest reversals occur when direct first-line supervisors are not held accountable
for the reversal, but are continued to be accountable for the "real work"
of the organization.
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