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OCAI Culture Workshop

Your organization's current culture is the starting point for the future. Culture is a record of what worked well in the past and preserves itself as people copy each other to belong.

If you need to change or improve while the culture keeps doing "the way we’ve always done things around here", then it's vital to work with culture. Here’s the business case: If you don’t work with culture, it might work you over.

If your organization could use some help working with culture, we can facilitate your OCAI Culture Workshop, based on your culture assessment.

The Culture Assessment

The Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI - © 1999 Kim S. Cameron), developed by Kim Cameron & Robert Quinn at the University of Michigan, maps your current and desired culture.

Based on the Competing Values Framework, the OCAI shows your culture in four archetypes: the entrepreneurial Create culture, the people-oriented Collaborate Culture, the process-oriented Control Culture, and the results-oriented Compete Culture. The OCAI is well-researched and validated, and easy to work with.

When you have your OCAI culture profile, what do you do? It doesn't work to tell people that they must change their culture (beliefs, behaviors, and more). You need to engage them to achieve behavior change (instead of lip service). Organizational change requires associates to change specific actions and interactions - leaders included. We need their participation to develop the culture.

The OCAI Culture Workshop

The OCAI Culture Workshop is a great way to work with culture. You can do this yourself with our OCAI Work Kit (included in OCAI Pro or Enterprise assessments). Read everything about the OCAI Culture Workshop in Marcella Bremer's book: "Organizational Culture Change: Unleash your Organization's Potential in Circles of 10". It includes many real cases as well.

You can hire us to facilitate your 1-day OCAI Culture Workshop!

Culture Workshop outline

First, your team or organization assesses the current and preferred culture with the online OCAI survey.

Next, in the Culture Workshop we'll cover:

  1. Understand the quantified culture profile
  2. Specify current culture
  3. Reality check of the desired culture
  4. Specify preferred culture
  5. Develop a How-to-change plan

1. Understand the Quantified Culture Profile

We work with the outcome of the OCAI assessment: Which culture types are dominant? How big is the gap between current and preferred culture? What could this mean?

2. Specify Current Culture with Qualitative Information

Next, we focus on finding typical beliefs, behaviors, examples, incidents, stories, sayings, jokes, artifacts, and so on. The OCAI survey provides a 2D-map, and this is the actual 3D-territory. By doing so, we get a shared understanding of where we Are (point A). We make culture operational, from abstract values to typical behaviors.

3. Reality check of the Desired Culture

We then explore the future and where we want to Be (point B). Why is it necessary to change now, and in what direction? What challenges and opportunities lie ahead? What are our strategy and goals? Which culture type would we need to be successful? Should we adjust the preferred culture profile from the OCAI-survey? Can we create a consensus of our preferred culture?

4. Specify Preferred Culture

Now that we know our preferred culture let’s make it specific from values to daily behaviors. We’ll create lists of typical beliefs, behaviors, examples, incidents, stories, sayings, jokes, artifacts in the new culture. We’ll also look at possible dilemmas and how to solve them - defining priorities and specific actions. For instance: “We want to become more innovative without so much red tape - but we don’t want to waste too many resources experimenting.” Thus, we get a shared and pragmatic understanding of where we want to Be (point B).

5. Develop a How-to-change plan

How do we get from A to B? We explore what works in the organizational system and what doesn’t. The dialogue explores questions, such as:

  • How do we change, now that we agree on our preferred culture?
  • What dilemmas do we expect?
  • What will every one of us do? What behaviors to stop, do more of, or start?
  • What conditions do we need to create?
  • What additional changes in structure, processes, strategy are needed?
  • What roadblocks can we expect?
  • How to leverage the positive energizers in our organization? 

The journey is different for each organization. No generic or expert advice can predict what will make a difference in your organizational system. That's why it's essential to engage in this OCAI Culture Workshop and tap the brains of the associates who work here. 

We try to discover what small actions can bring about significant changes in the organization. We look at the organization as a network to benefit from a "social multiplier effect": what habits could start small and go viral in the organization? It might be wise to check our meetings as a powerful platform of culture – and see if a change is needed in how people behave when they meet, check the why and how of the meetings, the schedule, who is included and excluded, who gets to decide what, and so on.

The outcome of this 1-day culture workshop can be a broad consensus of what to change, or a detailed plan of how to change specific behaviors, plus other necessary changes in structures and processes.

This is Organization Development in action, kicked off by the 1-day Culture Workshop. Many organizations start this workshop with the executive team, and next with leaders of all levels. But you could do this engaging workshop with any team or group.

After the Culture Workshop

The culture workshop can then be rolled out (top-down) in the organization by department, or team, or leadership level. Or you can organize voluntary culture sessions and invite anyone who wants to contribute to the culture to enroll (criss-cross in the organization).

The Culture Workshop can be the start of an ongoing Change Circle for each team or group of co-workers that convenes regularly. In Change Circles, people develop customized plans for their teams and themselves, they practice new behaviors, solve issues, and support each other. In some organizations, regular Change Circles become a vehicle for learning and change, peer support, and problem-solving.

In addition to workshops where people focus on beliefs and behaviors, adjustments in structures, processes, meetings, mandates, etc., can facilitate culture change.

Combining your onsite change process with e-learning is also very powerful. This can help busy professionals to develop an effective culture that will become the "new normal." Check out the curriculum and see how our Positive Culture Academy for teams can leverage your organizational culture change process.

The outcome of the 1-day OCAI Culture Workshop for your team depends on your situation. Some teams go very fast; others might need more time to reach a consensus on the preferred culture type. There might be "homework" left to develop the How To Change Plan for the organization, and more follow-up meetings. In our experience, this one first day with facilitation can be enough for the team to continue on their own.

About Change Circles

People in groups tend to copy, coach, and correct each other. That’s why we engage in Change Circles, where ten people work with their culture to make it personal and specific.

For this approach to work, the size of the circle matters. With ten people, there’s space for dialogue, to solve obstacles or reflect on objections. People tend to engage as no one can hide in a small team. There's no stealthy criticizing because people talk to each other, not about each other. It's easier to build trust, benefit from peer support and take ownership of the change. The focus is on personal (inter)actions.

The OCAI Culture Workshop for your team

Would you like an OCAI consultant to guide your team's workshop in your location based on the outline above? Contact us to schedule a call or request a proposal.

Would you like a debriefing of your OCAI Results Report? Contact us via email for an online consulting call with Marcella Bremer.