Skip to main content
A high-performance culture is a positive culture

A high-performance culture is a positive culture

  • 12 April 2018
  • Posted by Marcella Bremer

The OCAI culture survey asks people to rate both their current culture and what they desire for the future. What do you think? What would your ideal organizational culture look like?

The database of OCAI Online contains the scores of hundreds of thousands of survey respondents all over the world, from all industry groups, ages, and backgrounds. In spite of this diversity, people share one desired culture at work. (This desired culture shows what people wish for, regardless of business considerations.) Their answer? The respondents all over the world are very clear. Leaders and employees desire more flexibility, autonomy, purpose, learning, and collaboration in the workplace. The preferred culture types from the Competing Values Framework are the Collaborate and Create Culture types

Collaborating for high performance

The OCAI database aligns with Daniel Pink’s research (published in his book Drive!) that shows that people want mastery (developing your professional skills), autonomy, and purpose at work.

Other research confirms what we see in the OCAI Online database. The Collaborate and Create cultures are not only “what people wish for” but organizational performance is often enhanced by these culture types. For instance, job satisfaction is experienced most in a Collaborate culture (Denison; Gregory; Quinn & Spreitzer; Lund). Collaborate cultures correspond with a reduced error’s rate, probably because open discussions help people to learn from each other, thus enhancing organizational performance.

Zu, Robbins and Fredendall; Yilmaz and Ergun; and Hartnell showed that a Collaborate culture has a direct and positive effect on product and service quality. Al Khalifa and Aspinwall, and Naor proved that Create culture has a direct and positive influence on this variable.

There is a positive relationship between Collaborate culture and customer satisfaction (Hartnell; Zu; Gregory). And a Create culture is the best innovation and performance predictor, according to a Spanish study.

But what about the other culture types in the Competing Values Framework, the stability-based Control and Compete Culture types?

Controlling and pushing 

It seems that many employees encounter the shadow side of Control and Compete Culture types. Some shadow sides of Control are position power that evokes politics, disengagement because you depend on your boss’s approval, feeling stifled by micro-management and too much red tape. Shadows of Compete are: being exhausted by the pressure of tough targets and a heavy workload, competitive co-workers, so you work alone, without much support.

Teamwork is one of the main drivers for extraordinary performance because people thrive on good relationships and support. An effective team benefits from diversity, and its collective intelligence and energy can accomplish way more than a few high-performing individuals could. To achieve sustainable high performance, organizations need a positive culture that fosters collaboration, autonomy, and purpose. If you want to know more, check out my book Developing a Positive Culture.

How to develop such a culture?

Having said that, organizations need all qualities from the Competing Values Framework to be successful in the long run. However, the Create and Collaborate Cultures are the most rewarding for both people and performance. These two culture types also support a positive culture, as described in my book.

Positive cultures cherish good relationships based on trust, participation and collaboration, and an eye for positive potential. They stimulate learning and development, a meaningful shared purpose, and professional autonomy.

We can conclude that it might be wise to emphasize the Collaborate and Create Culture elements in your organization…. If you want to know how I invite you to attend the Culture Change Leadership workshop! We’ll work on how to use the OCAI, how to guide culture change, and how to create a more positive culture at work. Let's go for a high-performance culture that is sustainable. We have limited seats to ensure time and attention for all participants. Let’s create more positive organizations. 

© Copyright Marcella Bremer, 2018. All rights reserved.