|Here are some ideas for determining what dimensions characterize your organization as an institution.
Take out your pencil and check the boxes that you believe define your organization. What issues not outlined here are important in defining “who we are,” “what we do” and “how we do it” for your organization. Would others agree
with your answers?
Let your leadership assess where your organization ranks. Discuss areas of agreement and disagreement. What may be true within one department or facility may not be true of
the organization as a whole.
Just because top management leaders agree on “what we’re about” doesn’t mean that rank-andfile employees see it that way. Your leaders may see you as a service-driven organization, which may be true of your external positioning but may not be true in how you respond to employee needs and concerns.
Center the meeting around two questions: “Who are we?” and “What makes us who we are?” Continue with these discussions until some consensus is developed around key issues. The discussion must be honest, thorough, and focused not on “what we want to be,” but rather on “who we are right now.” Organizations who decide that “where we are now” is not “where we want to be,” may want to consider shifting their organizational culture before initiating any new policies or programs.
Assessing your organizational culture is the first and most important step in developing sound human resources strategies that support your organization objectives and goals. By not merely copying “best practices” from other organizations, your organization is far more likely to develop policies and programs that support your particular goals. In other words, to be effective, organizations should copy how leading organizations think, not what they do. By better understanding who you are, you’ll be better able to implement smart policies and programs that will sustain your organization’s character.