Dave Snowden

Narratives of Culture: 1st movement

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One of the problems with cultural surveys in organiations is that they tend to be evaluative in nature.   The same issue applies to 360 feedback, employee satisfaction surveys and the like.  With the best of intentions they want to know what people think about the organisation.  The problem is that evaluation closes down options and also can create stress or gaming behaviour.

In addition the process of evaluation is itself problematic as it focuses people on a single act of judgement with a singple focus.   That moves away from the day to day micro narratives that describe the total experience of the respondent.   We do’t live our lives in neat silos of hyothesis based surveys; we live the day to day experiences of social encounters, infused with multiple experiences, hopes and dreams that are not directly engaged with work, but which we cannot leave at the security card swipe in of the modern workplace.

In an ideal world we would scan continuously and incidentally using day to day experiences to create a contimnuous pulse.   Now that is something we can offer with SenseMaker, but that isn’t an entry level offering.   With the new Scan you can start with the whole workforce or take a sample every week or month.  That should give enough confidence to move on to something closer to a full continuous real time feedback loop.

Critically with the Scan, no employee is asked to evaluate the organisation, instead they simply tell a story, take a picture, interview another staff memner or any combination thereof.  Signification is then carried out on a series of balanced triads which have all positive labels, and the labels are themselves descriptive.   As I pointed out in my second post in this series, its all about seeing emerging patterns rather than some absolute measure.

So in the next series of posts I’ll run through those signifiers.   I may take a break for a couple of days but I will have them complete by the end of the week.