If You Can Measure Culture, You Can Manage It
Are you frustrated with your team’s or firm’s culture? Are you a change agent or innovator frustrated with the progress on your firm’s change initiatives? If either description fits, this piece is for you.
My own professional goal is to help people make a positive and measurable impact within their firms. If you can really understand your firm’s culture to the point where you can measure it and describe its causes and effects, you can effectuate change within it.
In our experience, culture is one of the most oft-cited reasons for failure to achieve organizational goals. Though people are confident that culture is the culprit, many are unable to pinpoint what “culture” really means within their groups and firm as a whole, what caused it to become that way, and what has resulted from it. Instead (and understandably), they use “culture” as a catch-all word for something they cannot quite describe, though they know it when they see it or experience it. However, without having a precise understanding of where a firm’s culture is today, it will be a real challenge to alter the culture or the firm in a meaningful way.
A couple of definitions of culture from Miriam-Webster’s online dictionary:
- “the characteristic features of everyday existence”;
- “the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization.”
Moreover, last I checked, the “culture” Wikipedia page used 4,298 words and 37 citations to explain it. People around the world appear to be struggling to describe culture…and perhaps you are too.
Today, we live in a data-rich world. We seek reliable metrics and analyses to provide deeper insights into our business operations. Incorporating data into the decision-making process is the norm. Loose concepts about a firm’s “culture” are neither satisfying nor actionable. If you could have in your hands an accurate picture of your firm’s culture, the causes of it, and the outcomes resulting from it, along with a roadmap to help you shift the firm’s culture towards being one that is supportive of specific goals, would you want that?
At LawVision, we incorporate industry-leading tools to measure and understand culture, allowing our clients achieve several things:
- define their firm’s culture as it exists today;
- articulate what the ideal culture for that firm would look like, as defined by the people inside it;
- build a roadmap with specific levers to press to effectuate change; and
- measure the difference these efforts have made over time.
If you can measure your firm’s culture, you can manage it; and if you can provide measurable results of your cultural change management efforts, then you can demonstrate you’ve made a difference.