Culture boosts resilience

In a recent article Dr. Mike Carter emphasised the importance of understanding the changes in culture climate within organisations brought about by major disruptive events like the pandemic and the steps taken to mitigate them such as remote working. Carter drew attention to the potential reduction in innovation due to curtailed socialisation. Culture climate in an organisation is a dynamic state which may reflect the more permanent embedded culture of the organisation when times are good or may veer away from it in a gale or even in a moderate wind. 

The effect of the pandemic on resilience in organisations and the contribution played by culture was observed by Michael Couch in collaboration with Denison Consulting who, at the time of Couch’s article, had surveyed 36 organisations with 15,000 participants. Their results confirm that two-way communication, socialisation if you will, has been impacted. “while companies received high marks for communicating to employees, scores on ‘I believe my voice is being heard by leadership’ were less favorable.

What the survey has also revealed so far is that organisations with established cultures proved to be more resilient than those with less well-defined culture. “On all four factors in the culture assessment (mission, consistency, involvement and adaptability), the top resilience scorers had significantly higher culture scores.

Couch proposes some actions for organisations to strengthen their resilience and it is not surprising that improving communication, especially listening to people, and paying attention to culture are in that list of actions. Using digital technology to measure changes in culture climate on a regular basis can give leaders the information they need to steer the organisation’s culture in positive directions. 

If you want to make sure that your organization is ready to effectively and quickly adapt to a future crisis or disruption, make sure that your culture is clear and aligned. Organizations can build resilience by building their cultures.