Culture Values Assessments for Teams and Organizations

Culture Values Assessments for Teams and Organization

There are four critical issues preoccupying the boardrooms of both large and small organizations around the world in the 21st century:

  • How to attract and keep talented people?
  • How to increase profits and stakeholder value?
  • How to increase creativity and productivity?
  • How to ensure ethics permeate the corporate culture?

Building a successful corporate culture has become the most significant source of competitive advantage and brand differentiation in business today. Our experience in mapping the values of more than 3000 organizations supports the statement that:

Values-driven organizations are the most successful organizations.


  • Values drive culture
  • Culture drives employee fulfillment
  • Employee fulfilment drives client satisfaction
  • Client satisfaction drives stakeholder value
What Are Values and Why Are They Important

Values are deeply held principles that people hold or adhere to when making decisions. Individuals express their values though their behaviors. Organizations express their values through their working culture. Research shows that there is a strong link between financial performance and the alignment of an organization’s operating values to the employees’ personal values. Who you are and what you stand for is becoming just as important as the quality of products and services you provide.

In Corporate Culture and Performance, John P. Kotter and James L. Heskett show that companies with strong adaptive cultures based on shared values outperformed other companies by a significant margin. Over an eleven-year period, the companies that emphasized all stakeholders grew four times faster than companies that did not. They also found that these companies had job creation rates seven times higher, stock prices that grew 12 times faster, and profit performance that was 750 times higher than companies that did not have shared values and adaptive cultures.

In Built to Last, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras show that companies that consistently focused on building strong corporate cultures over a period of several decades’ outperformed companies that did not by a factor of six and outperformed the general stock market by a factor of 15.

John P. Kotter and James L. Heskett, Corporate Culture and Performance, (New York: The Free Press) 1992

James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras, Built to Last, Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (New York: Harper Collins) 1994

Measurement Matters

In 1997, an innovative set of assessments that map the values of individuals and organizations was developed called the Barrett Values Centre Cultural Transformation Tools (CTT). The CTT assessment is a detailed diagnostic report of an organizational culture and a roadmap for continuous improvement. The Barrett Values Centre Cultural Transformation Tools are based on the Seven Levels of Consciousness model. They allow the organization to measure the alignment of the personal values of the employees with those of the current culture of the organization, and those of the current culture with the desired culture.


A Proven Success

In 2000, a noted Australian Bank used the CTT assessment to understand its current values and to begin work on a program of cultural transformation. Between 1999 and 2004, the level of employee satisfaction rose from 49% to 85%. The shift in values was accompanied by a significant improvement in shareholder value and profitability.

What Information Will I Receive About My Business Using a Values Assessment?

CTT-certified consultants start by working with senior executives to design and customize an online values assessment that reflects the personal values of the survey participants and the nature of their business. The resulting data allow a variety of plots and reports to be produced.

1. Business Needs Scorecard

The Business Needs Scorecard translates the cultural values chosen by the group into a business perspective. The Scorecard focuses on six key areas recognized as being necessary for high performance: finance (profitability), fitness (performance), client relations, evolution (new products and services), culture, and societal contribution.


2. Values Plot

The Values Plot visually demonstrates the alignment of the top Personal Values, Current Culture Values and Desired Culture Values according to the Seven Levels of Consciousness model. It shows what the priorities of the employees in your organization are, how they see the culture now—those aspects which are supporting the organization and those which are holding it back—and the values they believe promote high performance. It clearly identifies where values are aligned and where differences arise.


3. Values Distribution

The Values Distribution diagram compares the percentage distribution of all votes (positive and potentially limiting) for Personal, Current Culture and Desired Culture values at each of the Seven Levels

It also shows the level of cultural entropy. Cultural entropy measuresthe internal frictions, relationship issues, structural misalignments, and system problems existing in your organization that are working against the achievement of your mission, vision, and strategy. Cultural entropy has a direct impact on employee fulfillment, customer satisfaction and, therefore, on profitability.


4. Alignment of Positive Values

This diagram focuses purely on positive values. Any significant jumps in the percentage distribution between current and desired culture at each level represent a request from the employees within your organization for greater focus in that particular area. The diagram shows the degree of alignment between personal values and the current and desired cultures.


5. CTS Diagram

The CTS Diagram allows you to see where employees are now, how they see the current organizational culture, and where they want the focus of your business to be.

Common good – the way in which the people and the organization make a difference to internal and external customers and society-at-large through service.

Transformation – the ability of the organization to adapt, renew itself, and build resilience.

Self-Interest – recognition of the necessity of taking care of basic business needs.


Diagnostic Report

These visual diagrams are accompanied by a detailed diagnostic report on the culture of the organization that assesses how well values are aligned, to what degree they are misaligned, and areas of focus in terms of strengths and improvements – in other words, what is working and what is not working. It comprehensively analyzes the data from your leaders and employees to provide a detailed road map for implementing a cultural adjustment or transformation project.

Reports and data are available for the following:

  • Individuals
  • Leaders
  • Businesses
  • Teams
  • Mergers & acquisitions
  • Schools
  • Communities
  • Nations

The culture of an organization is a direct reflection of the personal consciousness of its leaders. Therefore, cultural transformation cannot occur without a change in the beliefs and behaviors of the top team. This is why it is recommended that organizations begin cultural transformation by mapping the values of the senior executives.

The Leadership Values Assessment (LVA)

The LVA, when used in conjunction with coaching, is one of the most powerful tools offered. It is important for two reasons: the senior group must i) be aware of the scope and depth of the cultural issues, and ii) be willing to take action, including commitment to personal change, before the rest of the company is involved in the process of cultural transformation.

Here are some key facts about leadership and shareholder value:

  • Leadership development drives cultural capital
  • Cultural capital drives employee fulfillment
  • Employee fulfillment drives customer satisfaction
  • Customer satisfaction drives shareholder value

Cultural alignment can occur at any level of consciousness, but only full-spectrum consciousness creates sustainable high performance and long-term resilience. Achieving full-spectrum organizational consciousness requires full-spectrum leaders.

The Leadership Values Assessment involves carrying out a survey for the leadership group and providing coaching for every member of this team. It starts by focusing on individuals’ positive leadership qualities and highlights the issues they need to address to achieve their potential and to grow as leaders. The CEO or the leader of the organization must be willing to commit to his or her own personal transformation in order to change the culture. The leaders must be the change they want to see.

The model below illustrates the Seven Levels of Leadership as they correspond to the Seven Levels of Consciousness.


For a free Personal Values Assessment visit:

What CEOs Are Saying About Cultural Transformation Tools

“When I reflect on what makes an outstanding organization, I keep coming back to the effectiveness of our people individually and collectively. Our responsibility as leaders therefore is to enhance, harness and direct the capacity and energy of our people towards virtuous and valuable ends. Long-term success has to have a solid foundation built on principles and values that act as a centre of gravity. In business you get what you target, design, measure, provide incentives for and are passionate about. This applies equally to principles and values, which need to be nurtured and directed through an effective whole systems approach and values-management framework. As an active and experienced user of The Barrett Value Centre Cultural Transformation Tools, I recommend the frameworks to anyone who is committed to a values-based approach and to long-term sustainable success.

John McFarlane, Chief Executive Officer, ANZ, Melbourne, Australia

“If you want your organization to consistently perform at peak levels, you need to become values-driven – a company that is characterized by strong alignment between individual values and corporate values; a company characterized by strong alignment between individual and group sense of mission; a place where the ‘walk’ matches the ‘talk’. And it all starts with you, the leader. The cynics in the audience may see the call for self-actualized leaders creating a values-driven future for business as ‘pie in the sky’. You will be amazed at the response from your organization and the resulting manifold benefits for your employees, your customers and the results of your firm.

Grant Kvalheim, Co-President, Barclays Capital, New York


Implementing a Framework for Culture Change

Leaders aspiring to build a high-performing organization will benefit by having a framework to guide cultural transformation efforts. For culture change projects to be successful, four-way alignment is required to change the whole organization. This is called whole-system change. It is achieved by aligning four areas: personal alignment, values alignment, mission alignment, and structure alignment.

Four conditions must be met for whole-system change to occur.
These are:

  • Personal alignment
  • Structural alignment
  • Values alignment
  • Mission alignment
Whole-System-Change-Four-Way-AlignmentWhole-System Change – Four-Way Alignment

Personal alignment

There must be an alignment between the values and beliefs of individuals, and their words, actions and behaviors. This is particularly important for the leadership group. It is important that leaders are authentic and walk their talk— Authenticity.

Structural alignment

There must be an alignment between the stated values of the organization, and the behaviors of the organization as they are reflected in the structures, systems, processes, policies, incentives and procedures of the organisation. It is important that the values are institutionalised — Integrity.

Values alignment

There must be an alignment between the personal values of employees and the stated values of the organization. It is important that all employees feel at home in the organization and can bring their whole selves to work.

Mission alignment

There must be an alignment between sense of motivation and purpose of all employees, and the mission and vision of the organization. It is important that every employee, manager and leader has a clear line of sight between the work they do each day and the mission or vision of the organization, so they know how they make a difference.

Values alignment and mission alignment together create group cohesion.

Engineering parallel shifts in all four quadrants at the same time is called whole-system change.

When the action and behaviors of the individual and groups are in alignment with the values and behaviors that they tell us they espouse, we consider this person or group to operate with authenticity and integrity.

Individual and collective values and behaviors shape the culture of an organization. Conducting a Cultural Values Assessment (CVA) with key stakeholders will provide the organization valuable information on the current and desired values and behaviors of its people.

For whole-system change to occur there must be a parallel shift in personal alignment, structural alignment, values alignment and mission alignment. All four relationships must change in the same direction for the group to experience a shift in consciousness.

The way to bring about such a change in an organization is through workshops, seminars and training programs that focus on personal alignment and group cohesion (values alignment and mission alignment), and structural alignment— changes in rules, regulations, systems and processes, and structures of governance that reflect the values and behaviors of the new level of consciousness.

The personal alignment and group cohesion programs should be tailored to correspond to the levels of consciousness of the group. The Seven Levels of Consciousness Model provides the necessary insights to design such programs. The CVA survey tells you exactly where the group is and where it wants to go in terms of values and levels of consciousness. These understandings are particularly important in choosing the implementation methodologies that are appropriate for the personal alignment and group cohesion programs.

Common Mistakes

Mistakes are often made in cultural transformation because the interdependencies between all four quadrants are not well understood.

Mistake 1: Focus only on personal alignment.

Many organizations focus on personal alignment without doing anything about structural alignment. This serves only to aggravate the situation. Managers and employees who have experienced a personal alignment program shift to a higher level of consciousness while policies and procedures in the organization still reflect the old level of consciousness.

Mistake 2: Focus only on group cohesion.
Another mistake is focusing on structural change without carrying out personal alignment. This limits the potential of success for group cohesion because people enter these programs without self-understanding or strong interpersonal skills. It would be better for people to enter the change programs having already experienced a shift in consciousness.

Therefore, for maximum impact, personal alignment should precede group cohesion and structural alignment should follow personal alignment or be carried out in parallel. When this happens, organizations can shift smoothly to a new level of consciousness.

Whole-system change is divided into two phases:

  • Phase 1: Preparation and
  • Phase 2: Implementation.

The preparation phase begins with leadership commitment to building an engagement plan to map and measure the current and desired culture of the organization. It culminates in the definition of a strategy for the implementation of a whole system change program, core values, and the key performance indicators that will be used to measure the success of the program.

The implementation phase includes the interventions and programs required to benefit its people on the journey to attain exceptional high performance.

Whole-System Change – Preparation Phase


Whole-System Change – Implementation Phase


Step 1

Leadership Commitment

  • Develop a business case for change:
    • Environmental scan
    • Discovery interviews with key stakeholders
    • Feedback session with leadership team
  • Map values and behaviors of leadership group by conducting a Small Group Values Assessment
    • Debrief values assessment
  • Connect, align, and build trust on leadership team
  • Create and share a compelling change story—WHY do we need to change?

Step 2

Baseline Measurement— Cultural Values Assessment

  • Conduct a Cultural Values Assessmentof whole organization
  • Include demographics such as:
    • Position
    • Business unit
  • Debrief results with teams
  • Identify opportunities and obstacles to cultural change
  • Provides guidance in the development of programs for:
    • Personal alignment
    • Group cohesion
    • Structural alignment
  • Identify key performance indicators for values management such as building trust and leadership development

Step 3

Revisit Mission and Vision

  • Gives direction to the change process
  • Identify the core motivations of the leadership group
  • Define and develop agreement on the core business of the organization
  • Revisit mission and vision statements
    • Ensure they are still relevant and inspiring to the leadership group, managers and staff
  • Create an internal mission of how the organization is going to grow and develop internally
  • Create an internal vision of what the organization will look like in five to ten years
  • Create an external mission of what the organization does for its customers
  • Create an external vision of the impact the organization wants to have on society

Step 4

Define Core Values and Behaviors

  • Select values that will:
    • Provide guidelines for acceptable and unacceptable behaviors
    • Support the organization in creating the future it wants to experience
      • Provide direction in decision making
    • Identify the behaviors that support the chosen values
    • Write behavior statements in a way that can be used in a performance monitoring process

Step 5

Develop Compelling Reasons for Change

  • The compelling reasons for change position the company to take advantage of future opportunities and build long-term resilience and sustainability
  • The results of the cultural values assessment provide significant input into the compelling reasons for change
  • The purpose is to unite everyone behind the whole-system change process
  • Reasons must be grounded in reality and driven by realistic optimism for a better future

Step 6

Personal Alignment

Personal awareness and alignment programs to support self-mastery:

  • TLEX Program—Transformational Leadership for Excellence
  • Leadership Values Assessment
    • Assessment of strengths, and areas of development
  • Leadership Development Report
    • Assessment based on twenty-six competencies
  • Mindset and behavior transformation workshop
  • Relationship Awareness training

Step 7

Systems and Procedures Alignment

  • Reconfigure systems and processes to align with the vision, mission, values and behaviors of the organization
  • These processes form the underlying formal and informal behavioral reward systems that support culture and materialize “how things are done around here”
  • Systems that may need to be reconfigured:
    • Management development programs
    • Leadership development programs
    • Talent selection and development programs
    • New employee/executive selection
    • New employee/executive orientation
    • Employee/executive performance evaluation
    • Employee/executive promotion criteria

Step 8

Values Alignment

  • Communicate the compelling reasons for change
  • Outline the vision, mission, values and behaviors
  • Align personal values with organizational values
  • Empower employees to bring the best of themselves to work

Step 9

Mission Alignment

  • Integrate the vision and mission of the organization into the executive and employee population
  • Ensure there is a strong link between employees’ sense of purpose or mission and the collective sense of purpose for the organization
  • Communication of objectives that define and clarify the mission focus and channel employee energies in the same direction


“Only when your culture is conscious can you manage it, and that is exactly what Joanna’s book enables you to do.”

Richard Barrett, Chairman and Founder of the Barrett Values Centre.Learn more about the Book!

Conscious Culture Book
To discover how your team and organization can benefit from a Cultural Value Assessment – Contact Us