Constructive culture only gets better!
First National Real Estate in Byron Bay is a dynamic and focused team. With 26 members on staff in one of the most competitive property markets in Australia, they continue to strive for and achieve high standards in their game. Always on the lookout for ways to improve their business, the agency took part in a “cultural development” process using the recognized OCITM – Organisation Cultural Inventory tool.
Agency Principal Chris Hanley says the process was a natural progression for the company and one that he willingly committed to when the opportunity arose. “I’ve understood the importance of understanding culture in the business for quite some time”, he says. “The OCI provided an objective measure of where our culture is currently in relation to a ‘preferred culture’ that would allow us to make even more improvements to the business.”
The OCI (Culture Survey) is a measurement tool that can be used by everyday managers, and leaders to describe the shared values, norms and expectations of people in the organisation and understand the impact of behaviour on performance. It works simply through staff anonymously completing an online questionnaire.
Accredited OCI practitioner, Jan Terkelsen, says anonymity is a key part of the process, “It allows staff to provide honest, considered feedback, which in turn gives a more honest and reliable picture of the culture.”
Top Down Approach
Terkelsen adds that leadership within an organisation is a critical factor in determining the overall culture. “When I started the OCI process with Byron Bay First National I observed how Chris conducted himself and his overall behaviour and attitude toward self-development and staff development.”
“I first noticed he was interested and interesting. He had all the books and paraphernalia in his office to suggest that he had some interest in the topics of leadership and culture. When I begin working with people I like to observe how they fill their space, how they spend their time and how they spend their energy. These questions were answered in the first 10 minutes of meeting Chris.”
The Results Are In
Against other constructive organisations, Byron Bay First National surpassed the benchmark setting a high achievement, people oriented culture. Their primary styles are High Achievement and Humanistic–Encouraging, indicating that they have a highly constructive motivated culture – people are encouraged and supported to achieve realistic yet challenging goals, they create win/win situations and openly communicate amongst themselves.
Research supports that of all the 12 styles of behaviour as set out in the OCI, these two styles have the greatest influence on success, measured by financial wealth, healthy relationships, well-being and sustainability.
Where To From Here?
While the results indicated were outstanding, they also provided indicators of areas that the business and team could improve on. Some indicators showed evidence of stress and ‘overwhelm’, and some areas where processes were fragmented and interdependent.
Under Jan’s guidance a few simple initiatives, were agreed on and put in place to help provide further swings in favour of an even more constructive culture.
Within a few short months of these initiatives being put in place, the benefits were already been noticeable.
Jan says one element of the OCI process that makes it so successful is that it is participative and includes all areas of the business. “Often indicators may only include the leadership or sales teams, but to get an accurate picture of the current and preferred culture you must include all members of the team.”
This includes a debrief session, where the results of the survey are communicated and the initiatives are introduced. “There were a number of obvious behaviours and attitudes I observed from the team at First National. They were all enthusiastic and had ideas about how to improve and encourage each other. All of them understood that setting challenging achievable goals was’‘how things are done around here’.”
Good to Great
‘How things are done around here’ is in fact a good way of describing culture in an organisation. As Hanley and the team at First National Byron Bay have proven, even with a ‘good’ culture as a foundation, there is always room for improvement. With an objective and qualitative tool such as the OCI, you can raise the bar even higher.
To find out more about how the LSI, OCI and GSI can help your business, contact me direct on 1300 854 180 or firstname.lastname@example.org.