How does our culture stack up?

by Sam on February 11, 2012

Man’s chief purpose…is the creation and preservation of values; that is what gives meaning to our civilization, and the participation in this is what gives significance to the human life. ~Lewis Mumford

Culture results from the values that people inside an organization demonstrate in relating to each other, to their customers, and to their work. A positive culture translates into consistent prosperity. A negative culture alienates your people and yields outcomes that are less than what they have the potential to provide.

The assessment below equips you to measure the values-driven behavior within your organization in order to pinpoint the opportunities you have to make it what you want it to be.

Culture Test

Use this scale to indicate agreement with 24 possible descriptions of your organization’s culture.

5 : Strongly Agree      4 : Agree      3 : Slightly Agree                                                                                                                                           2 : Slightly Disagree      1 : Disagree      0 : Strongly Disagree


1. We share a common vision and a clear direction that unites us.

2. The several functions/departments in our organization collaborate with each other for mutual success; we look out for each other.

3. Employees treat each other with respect.

4. We work in a high trust environment.

5. We empower and equip each other with information to do our jobs; we’re not restrained by a restrictive “need-to-know” philosophy.

6. Employees act with unquestionable honesty and integrity.

7. We eagerly provide our external customers with world-class service.

8. When interpersonal conflict and disagreement arise, they are resolved quickly and thoroughly.

9. People receive constructive criticism as appropriate and are held strictly accountable for their performance.

10. People are appreciated and acknowledged for their efforts and accomplishments.

11. We plan ahead and act strategically, not waiting until the last minute; there are few “fire drills”.

12. A high sense of urgency pervades the workplace; we make it happen.

13. We take action on decisions that need to be made; you won’t hear “not my responsibility” around here.

14. A positive, optimistic, and hopeful outlook rules.

15. People are consulted as appropriate on decisions affecting them.

16. The workload is appropriately distributed and shared; we strive not to overload anyone.

17. People are willing to take smart risks without fear of punishment.

18. People are willing to speak up with constructive critiques to higher management.

19. People are willing to deliver bad news to their managers.

20. It’s easy to find and connect with mentors who’ll give you helpful career perspectives.

21. There is opportunity for training and development to increase our technical and our people skills.

22. There is opportunity to take on new and more challenging assignments.

23. There is opportunity to advance through the ranks; promotion from within is practiced when possible.

24. We are paid competitive wages.


Breakthrough! Take this assessment with your leadership team. First, celebrate those items that the group scores above a 3. Next, focus on the three items receiving the lowest scores. Generate a combined list of organizational barriers causing these three items to be scored so low. Prioritize the barriers, pinpointing the five or six that do the greatest damage. Make a commitment to actions that will overcome these priority barriers. Meet together every other week to assess your progress at creating a more positive culture through these actions.