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Culture

In clarifying how change is undertaken, the culture of an organization needs to be understood. Culture can stall and kill a project with hardly the blink of an eye. All of the professional and passionate planning initiated by a consultant will be ruined if the change and outcomes do not align with the culture. You must clarify three things: what is the cultural make-up of the target audience?; what personal cultural bias do you have?; and what is the degree of cultural diversity within the group?

Cultural audit

A cultural audit is designed to offer a clearer view of the culture you are dealing with. This knowledge is used to aid the diagnostics process, ensure that an appropriate change methodology is applied and test the viability of any solutions. This is clearly an art as opposed to a science. An organization's culture is simply an approximate description of the preferred style that the people choose to use. As you deconstruct the organization, so the approximation becomes less accurate because individual personalities and tendencies will emerge. At best, the outcome of any audit must be treated with some scepticism and at worse treated on a par with a horoscope. However, it is fair to say that, in general, it is possible to get a feel for a culture even if it cannot be specifically calibrated. A simple test is to walk into the foyer of three different hotels. There is every chance that within a few minutes, you will have an intuitive grasp of the culture of the organization. You will be able to guess what is acceptable to the staff, who wields the power and the extent to which the hotel has verve and energy. Although you would not invest your money on the strength of this, it can offer enough data on which to make a number of broad suppositions about an organization's operating style.


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