Cohesive Strategy Group

Culture - It's about people.

"Culture eats strategy for breakfast". A great quote that illustrates the power of culture and how important it is to consider when developing your strategy.

Artifacts, espoused values, underlying assumptions

We start with assessing your current culture.

Our process starts with an assessment of the current culture. We focus on the artifacts, which are visible displays of the organization, such as the physical building, people's attire, tone and purpose of meetings, physical displays of accomplishments like awards, plaques, and certificates. And lastly the various routines of the organization that employees are expected to participate in.

What are the espoused values?

Next, we assess the espoused values of the firm to understand how the firm wants to think and behave. The company vision, mission, and corporate values tell a lot about the firm and help to build a personality or communicated perspective of what the company stands for and why.

We illuminate the tensions and contradictions.

What we say and what we do are sometimes two different things. At the core of culture are the underlying assumptions. These are the unwritten rules of how the group acts, thinks and responds. Often, the underlying assumptions contradict the espoused values. That creates tensions that overtime creates a gap between what leadership thinks and what culture does. Fix the condradicitons and the organization begins to align.

People sitting together wearing shirts that spell team.

One-on-one employee interviews get to the root of the culture.

An integral part of our cultural assessment, are the employee interviews. We don't use surveys, we use in-person interviews to capture tonality, body language, and emphasis. We interview each employee, or a cross-sample for large firms, asking uniquely created questions specific to the company and the goals to achieve. The interviews are recorded both audibly and in transcribed text to best capture the dynamics of the employee's thoughts and feedback. Interviews are performed in complete confidentiality to ensure the identity of the individual is protected. We ensure complete anonymity of the feedback, using numeral identifiers, removing the name, division or department, title, seniority, and tenue of the individual. We paraphrase sharp comments and vet them with the individual to confirm the sentiment, while removing personal language, which may be a tell. The data is in the sole possession of our interviewers and stored securely offsite, with a contractual agreement that the client organization will never gain access to the content. Ever!

Our interviews work through a flow of questions, which illuminate the underlying assumptions of the culture. We assess where the tensions and anxieties are within the culture and how they are manifesting. We outline the contradictions between the artifacts, espoused values, and the underlying assumptions. Is what we say, what we do? Or is it do as I say, not as I do?

In the end, we consolidate the themes of the data to create a cultural paradigm that best represents the organization. Using this cultural paradigm, we evaluate how culture is aligned with the direction and goals of the organization, and the strategy required to achieve them.

Creating a great culture takes more than words.

Let's do it together    →