Have you ever wondered…What makes a great organizational culture? How culture impacts and influences organizational performance? Why so many attempts to create great cultures fail? What we can do to approach culture change in a more sustainable way?
Thank you for your joining us on this 3 week Conscious Culture journey. We hope you have enjoyed the incredible thought leadership that Peter Leong brings to organizational culture work. Please do get in touch with him directly if you would like to explore how this work can be applied in the context of your organization (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Here’s a brief recap of what we explored in the past weeks and a preview of the third and final part of this series:
In Part 1 of this series on Conscious Culture, we set the context for why culture programs have taken center stage in the management world. Most experts now agree that working at the organizational culture level is key to unleashing the next paradigm for value creation.
In Part 2 we acknowledged that too many culture change efforts fail because they only focus on the change in desired organizational outcome. For example, we often hear clients aspire “for a more performance centric culture” or “a culture of innovation” or “a pragmatic culture of getting things done”.
There is nothing wrong with setting these objectives. However, we must be aware that they are only the tip of the culture change ICEBERG. If we simply act on these without also making the necessary changes at the mindset, values and attitude level (ie: the hidden parts of the ICEBERG), then nothing will really change.
This week, in the final episode of the Conscious Culture series, we introduce very concrete tools and methods to sustain-ably bring a more conscious culture to life by shining the light and bringing more concreteness to the depth of the ICEBERG.
PART THREE: BRINGING OBJECTIVITY TO THE SUBJECTIVE NATURE OF ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE:
“What gets measured get done”
One of the organizational realities that we must contend with as Organizational Development practitioners is the importance of data in the decision making process. The more strategic the decision, the more likely we need to back it up with compelling data. Therefore if we want to create culture change programs with lasting strategic impact, we must also be able to provide robust data points at every level of the Culture Change ICEBERG.
We are proposing a holistic framework that quantifies and intuitively connects the deeper human levers of culture with the strategic priorities of an organization – something that has not been available until now. With these tools and methodologies it is now possible to go about implementing Conscious Culture Change in a reliable and highly efficient way.
The 83 insightful questions of the Organizational Human Potential Survey (developed by BEING at Full Potential) assesses an organization on all levels of the conscious culture iceberg. In other words, we can now quantify the invisible aspects of the iceberg and accurately determine which of the deeper human levers need to be worked on in order to elevate the consciousness, and subsequently, the performance of the organization.
The following diagram draws the parallel between the three levels of high impact culture of Edgar Schein’s model that we introduced last week and Being at Full Potential’s ORG value creation iceberg. Focusing on the bottom of the iceberg will elevate the consciousness of the culture and ultimately result in the desired performance outcomes (top of the iceberg).
Let’s break each one of these levels down into more details:
1. Artifacts & Practices: 6 Organizational Performance Metrics
Our research has identified six high level organisational performance measures or criteria that organisational leaders wish for most – not only to survive but to thrive and excel in a complex business world. We call these the six Organisational Performance Metrics (OPM) – or the six drivers of performance in an organisation.
The higher the level of performance in each of the performance measures, the higher the success of the organisation will be in terms of increasing the capacity and capability to grow in the long run.
These six organisational performance metrics are the visible and measurable part of the culture iceberg. A sample of the Organisational Performance Metrics, shown as a spider graph in the diagram below:
2. Espoused beliefs & Values: Creating ORG value through Human Potential realization (the 4 BEING States)
Edgar Schein states that “When reduced to their essence, the problems of internal integration are language.” In carrying out the Organisational HP assessment we are rewarded with access into a deep pool of Human metrics that can now be used to bring in a new language and to start new narratives on the Human states and dimensions as the pathway to address the internal integration issues that are unique and different for each organisation.
“It is language that makes thought possible … (not the reverse…)”
Using the language and measures associated with Human Potential realisation, we are able to go beneath the surface and explore the deeper human dynamics at play in the organisation. Specifically, we measure the extent to which the collective Human Potential is utilized. We have broken down Human Potential realization into 4 States and 23 Dimensions as illustrated in the diagram below:
3. Basic underlying assumptions: Adopting the 8 conscious BEING Attitudes
Whether an organisation thrives or struggles is highly dependent on whether top leaders have the desire and will “to yearn to bring more consciousness to the way (they) run organisations”, to overcome the current limits of people’s performance as they face this technology-driven, fast changing, complex and uncertain business world.
The 8 conscious BEING Attitudes are backed by both ancient wisdom traditions and modern science as key levers for unlocking outstanding human performance through conscious culture. The more an organization deliberately adopts these mindsets, the more likely they will thrive in today’s VUCA world.
4. Bringing it all together: Consciousness Maturity Index
For the first time, we have a way to assess, ‘see’ and experience the consciousness level (index) of the organisation. Now we can begin new and rich narratives and dialogues as to what the result of the assessment of the Consciousness Maturity Index means to the group. See Figure below:
The Consciousness Maturity Index has been adapted from the “five Koshas” which are the basis of Indian spiritual traditions. These five layers measure the level of consciousness (or consciousness maturity) of an organization at a given point in time and indicate its next stage of growth or maturity in consciousness.
This measure is a useful guide and predictor of organisational performance. It also provides practical insights to organisational performance “in relation to internal cohesion and external fit with the environment”,  and to the alignment of individual aspiration with that of the leadership team and the organisation on the whole.
Take the example of Company X whose level of conscious culture maturity index shows that the company is operating at the level of a “REASON-BASED CULTURE” (or rational) organisation. This would suggest that:
- the organisation is adept at problem solving and applying logic to understand the root causes and underlying motives
- decisions are typically made with a lot of forethought and plenty of supporting data
- the organization tends to play it safe in order to avoid making ‘mistakes’
However, in ‘hiding’ under the current culture based on reason and rational, we can also discover that:
- the organisational leaders and managers also forgo the opportunity for passion, creativity and breakthroughs to emerge
- growing into the next level of organisational maturity (PURPOSE-BASED CULTURE) will require more compassionate and visionary leadership, that is committed to realizing the full potential of its people
- the organization will learn to access and rely more on its intuition (in addition to the rational processes) in order to make informed decisions about the ‘emerging future’ vs the best practices of today
In their explorations many researchers found consistently that humanity evolves in stages of consciousness. High consciousness creates the ‘silence’ from where we show up in our fullest Human potentialities. By expanding our consciousness, we are more able to source from our highest level of Human energy to become more of ‘who am I’, emerging and converging ultimately into our highest Self.
“That is the true genius of organizations: they can lift groups of people to punch above their weight, to achieve outcomes they could not have achieved on their own.” 
 Reference: “The many faces of culture: making sense of 30 years of research on culture in organisational studies (2015)”; Denison & Mishra, 1995 and Arogyaswamy & Byles, 1987)
 Frederic Laloux – Reinventing Organisations
FROM CONSCIOUS CULTURE DATA POINTS TO A NEW SET OF ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIORS & ACTIONS
The new insights & discoveries emerging from the data can now be fully integrated and transformed into actionable next steps, fully owned by the organisation. This is reinforced by new practices of adopting new language, symbols, rituals and ceremonies.
“…. you design a (conscious) culture that itself immersively sweeps every member of the organisation into an ongoing developmental journey in the course of working every day.”
We encourage the leadership team to get together and go through a DISCOVERY process to re-visualize what the emerging future organisation looks like. In the process, they will be supported in:
- integrating and translating the new ideal into concrete language, symbols, rituals and ceremonies so that employees are engaged in new empowering ways through shifts in consciousness or self-awareness (see below for more details)
- developing a new implementation plan – making explicit choices in favour of a higher purpose
- focusing on high leverage change and development interventions, based on what the leaders and people in the organisation deeply care about
- developing targeted personal development training and coaching programs that are rolled out at the individual and group levels to make the new inner states a reality
- collectively adopting new language and customs so that employees are engaged in more empowering day-to-day conversations and ways
- embracing new Leadership BEING Attitudes and habits, and the new consciousness being reflected in the management objectives and planning tools, like Balance Scorecard, Strategy mapping, Performance Measures, Lean Management practices, Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), etc.
There are four levers that have been used for centuries to shift mindset (self-awareness or consciousness) and we will look at how these can be applied to creating self-realized organizations.
- Language (or vocabulary): The first and foremost lever to shift individual or organizational mindset is VOCABULARY or LANGUAGE. If we want a new reality, we must speak a new vocabulary.
- Rituals: Rituals are perhaps the most effective lever to transform an individual’s or organization’s mindset. They rewire your brain and impact the way you think, speak and do things.The following definition of rituals is found on the net: Rituals are a series of actions or type of behaviour, regularly and invariably followed by someone.
- Ceremonies: Ceremonies have the power to develop greater meaning and deeper relationships, whether they be personal, organisational or community ceremonies. Ceremonies help focus the collective intentions for yourself and your organization.
- Symbols: Symbols resonate with you on a deep level. They are reminders of what you stand for. They stimulate your thoughts and ideas and awaken your deeper mind. They have the power to penetrate you and code their message deep within your subconscious.
For more info and practical examples of the 4 levers of mindset change please refer to the following article by Sujith Ravindran
“From a developmental perspective, real growth requires some qualitative shift, not just in knowledge, but in perspective or way of thinking. Growing is when the form of our understanding changes; we often call this ‘transformation’. As we grow, the previous form is overtaken by the new form, leaving traces of the less-mature form behind like rings in a tree trunk.” (Jennifer Berger – Changing on the Job)
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR (Peter Leong)
I write this White Paper with full and humble acknowledgement that my personal learning and knowledge is derived from the wise and intelligent work of many other preceding authors, researchers, thought leaders, and especially the ancient masters and sage of wisdoms from both the East and West.
More recently, I cherish the wisdom I gained from Sujith Ravindran and Mark Vandeneijnde in their passionate work in the field of Human Potential Realisation – both from a beautiful blend of scientific and ancient mystical approach. I also draw new inspiration from the growing network of deep thinkers and practitioners at Being at Full Potential around the world.
This White Paper is simply a curation of these wisdoms and knowledge weaved into my own thoughts and words that I hope do justice to those wise and enlightened people who influenced my life.