Identifying Organisational Misalignment

Every organisation has 4 layers on the Cultural Onion: Values, Goals, Narrative and Rituals.

The Narrative is an interesting layer because it can be observed only in the most informal of settings, away from the confines of the rules & regulations of the organisation.

When the Narrative is different at different levels or even different departments in an organisation, there is a misalignment in its culture.

This could be due to a lack of interest, understanding, commitment or procedure.

In a hospital, as you're awaiting your turn for an X-Ray, the attendant says to you, "Have you tried kampung medicine? I recommend you do that. Kidney stone surgery is painful. I have a phone number somewhere, but I don't know where it is"

He says this to you one day before your operation.

This is a misalignment in Commitment, where even a hospital staff says something the organisation as a whole wouldn't. It isn't my first time hearing it. I even got it from a nurse at a private hospital.

Some people are employees for the sake of the salary and have no desire to participate in the company culture. This is a misalignment in Interest: "This is just a job for me"

When people are not onboarded properly, you create a misalignment in Understanding: "Oh. Don't join this company. It's the worst"

When you don't train them well in your Standard Operating Procedures, you create misalignments in Procedures: "I think it's better if we did it this way. I prefer it like this. What do they know how we work?"

Listening to the informal Narrative closely can help you understand how your people really feel about your organisation.

If a significant amount of people are misaligned, leadership needs to fix the Purpose, Policies, Processes and Procedures to attend to these grouses.

Another way, is to have Recruitment work with with a finer toothcomb to find only those best matches for the culture they are joining.

At a smaller level, if you lead a family, what are your children really saying about you behind your back?

If there is a misalignment, then you have to take action to help them become Interested, get a better understanding, become more Committed or teach them the correct Procedures.

Because if you don't listen closely, a resignation will not be one of your problems. Its analog might.