Cultural & Political Assessment

CartoonGlobeIn the search for reducing costs, improving products and services, increasing productivity and overcoming myriad other operating, financial and market hurdles in order to meet revenue and profit objectives, many organizations still don't spend nearly enough time and resources taking the temperature of their cultural and political climates.

In many organizations, the culture is not conducive toward keeping line managers and their staff motivated or their morale high. While HR may devise innovative recruiting and retention strategies, if the company's culture is known to be excessively competitive, repressed, unfocused, or perhaps at odds with itself (i.e., a culture that publicly proclaims it listens to every employee's ideas, everyone has a voice, etc.) but in fact, ideas and creativity are regularly stifled, it will be very tough to attract the best talent, and even harder to keep it. And these days, too many executives and HR departments appear blissfully unaware that how their employees are hired, fired, promoted and treated in general, along with executive missteps, are all regularly reported on personal blogs, on Facebook, on message boards, etc. A company's poor notices in these spaces, whether true or false, can damage your otherwise laudable recruiting and retention strategies, not to mention your organization's reputation with prospective employees.

Often, a CEO thinks his or her organization's culture (whatever it is) is homogenous. But the truth of the matter is that the same company may have five, ten, twenty or even more sub-cultures that are the creation, intentionally or unintentionally, of each senior manager in each division or operating and administrative group within the company. For instance, sales may have a culture of "take no prisoners" and "we all stick together." Engineering may have a manager or executive that has essentially created a culture of, "No risk accepted here." Still another, say in finance, may have a culture of "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil." None of these are helpful. Often, executives don't believe these cultural problems exist or they just never see the signs, even though everyone else in the department or division is quite aware of them. How is that possible? Why won't anyone bring these problems to the attention of their boss? Simple, because in many types of cultures, everyone knows that the messenger of bad tidings is usually shot! (More likely, he or she never gets promoted.)
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Within these organizational cultural backwaters lies an even more dangerous element lying in wait, the politics of the workplace. The fact is that workplace politics is often corrosive. It undermines good people and best intentions. It can create an environment wherein lapses in ethical behavior occur and may even be encouraged—even if it's only with the wink of an eye. Work based politics often reduces or kills morale, throws water on the sparks of innovation, and makes a mockery of the notion that your organization is a meritocracy. The unwarranted promotions of people based upon their political maneuverings, instead of their actual achievement, is a human assets body blow that radiates outward from a department like a rock thrown into a pond--it eventually reaches everywhere. And still, most executives don't want to believe it exists in their organizations, or are quick to dismiss it as "no big deal." We respectfully disagree, and think workplace politics is a big deal indeed.

Can we help? Absolutely! Maverick is uniquely qualified to help you objectively assess the culture and the current effects of politics in your organization, and then design and execute appropriate solutions. The firm’s unique engagement model called Behavioral Integration Management, integrates the management and behavioral sciences: led by Dr. Martin D. Cohen, our licensed, clinical psychologists assess and address the people issues concurrent with our client-collaborative efforts to craft creative and highly implementable business strategies and action plans. Unlike most other firms, Maverick will stay with you through the process of cultural transformation to ensure that the people responsible for achieving the organization's objectives are given the tools and ongoing support necessary for them to be successful for the long-term.