Skout’s Approach to Culture and Performance

Culture Drives Behavior

Skout brings its multi-dimensional approach to organizations addressing culture issues. To help companies manage people-based risks Skout applies the following principles in its work:

  • Culture factors and social norms have a deep impact on individual behavior. Individual behavior is as much a function of a person’s environment as it is a function of their personality. Cultural influences on how people make decisions and feel integrated into the organization cannot be underestimated.
  • An ethical culture is not something apart from the overall culture of the organization. An ethical culture is a byproduct of an aligned and positive culture. However, organizations cannot mandate a positive culture in the same way it can issue compliance standards and policies. A positive “ethical” culture is a result of the broader and more comprehensive efforts to create a positive work environment overall.
  • Positive cultures emerge when employees are working to the best of their abilities, consistent with their drives and values. Ethics risks emerge out of the frustrations and fears that individuals have that they cannot get their job done without compromising core beliefs or values. As a result, there is a strong correlation between business performance and “ethics performance.” In many instances, the most effective “ethics” intervention may in fact be attention focused on improving business performance.
  • Organizations consist of multiple sub-cultures, each with different tasks. Managing an overall “corporate” culture requires deep understanding of how each of the sub-cultures need to be aligned with their tasks and how they relate to other sub-cultures and the corporation overall. For example, though the values may be similar, what supports success in financial services is not the same as what supports success in audit. Thus, organizations should not seek to create uniformity but should enable each sub-culture to develop, consistent with a common set of values, and the demands of its tasks.
  • If you can measure it you can manage it. One of the resistance factors to taking a comprehensive approach to managing culture is the inability to have objective metrics by which to create a baseline of expected performance. Skout’s tools provide leaders of each of the sub-cultures with a baseline of culture health as well as an objective and prioritized checklist of behavior-based areas that demand intervention.

Skout’s work helps clients understand and manage the connections between corporate vision and strategic business goals and the factors that enable individuals and teams to make or inhibit progress in meeting those goals.