Everyone is talking about the concept of a corporate culture, and 94 per cent of managers consider it a crucial factor for success. But what does this term really mean? How does the culture differentiate between successful and less successful companies? How do we recognize opportunities and achieve change?
Markets are changing. Customers’ needs and requirements aren’t what they were. The new generation is seeking a change in its working conditions. Advancements in technology and different political obligations mean that employees, departments and companies have to adjust and keep up. Often, people try to solve new problems with former solutions. And decision-makers frequently lack both a fundamental understanding of their own corporate culture, along with the knowledge of how to change it.
Successful companies in particular only really begin to transform their corporate culture at the point where others have already stopped. It is insufficient for management to decide on values and strategies and to simply pass these on to employees. Successful changes emerge from a strategically orientated agreement and operational implementation.
Company cultures are composed of shared values, shared by both the part-time intern as well as the senior management team. Based on Clare W. Graves’s model of human development and my own years of experience in consulting and training, the ‘9 Levels for Value Systems’ has been created. By consulting it, value systems held by individuals, groups and organizations can be measured, thereby calculating the extent to which the current values and attitudes suit that particular environment. An online survey determines the current state of the value system and where it should aim, highlighting potential for changes that can be implemented.
What are the ‘9 Levels’?
The 9 Levels denote stages of development, and their corresponding value systems. With each level, the solution flutters between fitting in with the existing environment or altering the existing environment to suit you. The lowest level represents the classic fight for survival. The next level is characterized by patriarchal leadership structures and little division of labor – both are commonplace in tight family-run companies. The subsequent levels cover rules and processes right through to holistic principles – a concept that is still very rare in companies. The majority of companies within the German-speaking regions now have the task of raising themselves from level four to five, and from five to six. The 9 Levels provides an internationally proven model that can overcome complex and new challenges.