Spencer Stuart Culture Alignment Framework Template
Originally published: 16/02/2022 11:49
Last version published: 03/10/2023 20:29
Publication number: ELQ-28207-5
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Spencer Stuart Culture Alignment Framework Template

Spencer Stuart's Culture Alignement Framework PowerPoint Template for leaders to position team cultures and make adjustments for better operational efficiency.

Developed by leadership consulting firm Spencer Stuart in 2018, and publicised on Harvard Business Review (HBR), in this article: https://hbr.org/2018/01/the-leaders-guide-to-corporate-culture, the "Culture Alignment Framework" is a tool developed to help leaders align their strategy with company and team cultures to foster a more efficient organization. By identifying a target culture for the company and individual teams, leaders can position executives that have the best fit, and hope for the optimal combination of strategy + execution.

According to the authors, the subject of "culture" is often relegated to HR departments, and not enough a focus of the leadership/ executive board. However, given that "culture eats strategy for breakfast", they advocate for a greater consideration of cultural impacts on the efficiency of a well thought out strategy. Culture is also more complex than most leaders imagine, with the necessary existence and co-existence of different styles inside the same organization. Culture has generally four accepted attributes: shared, pervasive, enduring and implicit - making it a tough parameter to adjust (on the contrary to strategy), for an organization.

The Framework identifies two MECE (Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive) axis:

1/ Attitude towards people:
- INDEPENDENCE (Autonomy, Individual Action, Competition)
- vs INTERDEPENDENCE (integration, managing relationships, coordinating group effort).

2/ Attitude towards change:
- FLEXIBILITY: adaptability, receptiveness to change -> innovation, openness, diversity, and a longer-term orientation)
- vs STABILITY: prioritizing consistency, predictability, maintenance of the status quo -> follow rules, use control structures such as seniority-based staffing, reinforce hierarchy, and strive for efficiency.

The different viable combinations lead to 8 primary and universal styles of cultures:

- 1️⃣ ENJOYMENT 🥳 -> Tilt towards Flexibility + High Independence: (i.e. fun and excitement)
- 2️⃣ LEARNING 👨‍🎓 -> High Flexibility + Tilt towards Independence: (i.e. exploration, expansiveness, and creativity)
- 3️⃣ PURPOSE 😇 -> High Flexibility + Tilt towards Interdependence: (i.e. idealism and altruism)
- 4️⃣ CARING 🤗 -> Tilt towards Flexibility + High Interdependence (i.e. relationship and mutual trust)
- 5️⃣ ORDER 💂 -> Tilt towards Stability + High Interdependence (i.e. respect, structure and shared norms)
- 6️⃣ SAFETY 🧑‍🚒 -> High Stability + Tilt towards Interdependence (i.e. planning, caution and preparedness)
- 7️⃣ AUTHORITY 🧐 -> High Stability + Tilt towards Independence (i.e. strength, decisiveness and boldness)
- 8️⃣ RESULTS 🏆 -> Tilt towards Stability + High Independence (i.e. achievement and winning)

These eights styles don't always co-exist very well. Indeed, according to the authors, styles that are adjacent to each other are more likely to co-exist peacefully (e.g. Enjoyment & Learning). By contrast, those which are opposite, require more energy and focus to have them up and running at the same time (e.g. Enjoyment & Order). As a consequence, teams that tend to collaborate on a same objective should have relatively compatible cultures, otherwise a confusion may arise on the means to meet the target. Example: should we work together? Or should I work on my own? Should I try to change things, or focus on making what works ongoing?

To identify the culture of a specific organization or team, one clue is to study the statements of leadership teams. This can give an indication of what culture the leader is implementing, and its eventual compatibility (or not), with the global business strategy, or theoretical team's positioning.

More about the framework here: https://www.spencerstuart.com/what-we-do/our-capabilities/leadership-consulting/organizational-culture

Given the high pertinence of Spencer Stuart's Culture Alignement Framework, I decided to create a template that any leadership team can use to analyse each department, business unit or team culture, and see who adjustments can be made for ideal optimal operational performance, aligned with the global strategy.

💡 PLEASE NOTE : A short questionnaire (11 questions) is included in the model to assess each team on both axis. You can improve and upgrade this questionnaire if you want, based on your first experiments or further research. 100 answers can be inputed (more can be added by adding extra lines in the various tables, and re-shuffling the formulas).

To conduct the questionnaire, my advice is to use one of the following softwares: Google Forms, Typeform, Feedier, Hubspot, SurveyMonkey, Crowdsignal, Qualtrics…

Other potential use cases:
✅ Identifying intended and unintended effects of an organization's culture
✅ Pooling employees for their own view of company/team culture, and spotting discrepancies
✅ Pinpoint sub-cultures that are contrary to a team's culture (for the best or the worst)
✅ Highlight differences in cultures post M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions), and make necessary leadership changes or recruitments
✅ For new recruits, have a quick tool to help them put words on an organizations/team's culture to facilitate their on-boarding
✅ Design the ideal cultural structure, that can be communicated to leaders to auto-adjust to the optimal positions

To make a culture evolve in a given direction, the authors of the framework suggest four levers:
- 1️⃣ Be clear on where you want to go 📣
- 2️⃣ Recruit and train leaders that are compatible with the ideal culture ✍️
- 3️⃣ Create a conversation inside the organization, to stress the importance of culture in global performance 🎙
- 4️⃣ Build a better Organizational Design to facilitate the operational applicability of the desired change 🏛

Global steps to use this framework as a powerful fundamental management tool:
1/ Become aware of the importance of culture, and its existence
2/ Identify organizational/team cultures and styles using the Framework
3/ Define a target culture to aim for
4/ Put projects in place to articulate the change from the existing to the desired culture(s)

The Best Practice is:
- 2 editable Microsoft PowerPoint Template Slides + Associated Excel Models
- with an online & offline 21 step-by-step methodology, with pedagogical illustrations for each step.

Should you have any questions about this top tier leadership culture framework template, you're welcome to reach out to me via Private Message.

Good Luck!
- Tim

Other pertinent readings on Culture Alignement:
- 6 ideas to Align People with Company Culture, by Oriane Perrin (Employee Connect): https://www.employeeconnect.com/blog/people-organisational-culture-alignment/
- The importance of cultural Alignment by David Youssefnia (LinkedIn): https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141119165946-324527-the-importance-of-cultural-alignment/
- Authentic alignment: The power of purpose (by Grant Thornton): https://www.grantthornton.com/library/articles/advisory/2019/return-on-culture/power-of-purpose.aspx

This Best Practice includes
3 PowerPoint Slide Templates + (3 Attached Excel Model) + 1 Online 26 Step-By-Step Methodology

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