Geeky “Measurement” Cultures

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

To be cultured implies someone who opts to read Ayn Rand or Albert Camus over tasteless vampire stories, prefers the music of Beethoven over Justin Bieber, appreciates fine wine over cheap beer, frequents the art museum and likely speaks a second language.  

Culture for the anthropologist is different. For the anthropologist, observing common practices is at the heart of their work. This may include observing the way men and women interact with one another in Spain, or noting the cooking pot that is used to prepare dinner in Kenya or considering the marriage rituals in Israel. Historically, anthropologists defined culture as consisting of values, beliefs, customs, arts and language of a specific group of individuals.  

Organizations have values—ways of behaving and belonging together. Whether it is intentional or unintentional, planned or unplanned, organization culture exists. Increasingly, there has been more attention paid to high performing cultures and their emphasis on “being geeky” …umm, I mean… measurement. 

Assessments address the degree to which organizations use data to make business decisions—and ongoing improvements. Measurement cultures share commonality in several ways: 

Measurement cultures lay the foundation for organization learning. Information sharing is leveraged in the organization towards knowledge and growth. Data-driven organizations make this possible.


Measurement cultures provide the way for projects and departments to track progress.  The measurement culture enables managers to track progress toward department goals. Managers need to know the score, and tracking the progress at specific times will help define progress.  

What happens if the project that is implemented is a flop? Or if needs are not fully met? Tracking along the way helps managers and team members to correct their course of action and make necessary modifications so outcomes move in a favorable direction.

Measurement cultures make data-driven decisions. The use of the “hunch” takes second place to making decisions based on data, inevitably leading organizations to drive sound decision making. If a project is not going in the direction it needs to go, then the data will validate this point. And when collecting the right data, it should help pinpoint where things broke down. 

About the Author
Lizette Zuniga is an organizational development consultant who specializes in measurement and cross-cultural talent development. She holds an M.S. degree in psychology from Georgia State University, and a PhD in leadership and HRD from Barry University. She co-authored the book Measuring the Success of OD with Jack and Patti Phillips, and has published several articles and case studies on needs assessment, ROI, and organizational culture.
Be the first to comment
Sign In to Post a Comment
Sorry! Something went wrong on our end. Please try again later.