Purposeful Talent Development: Four More Dimensions of Organizational Climate

paper dolls
Lesley Sears Photo
VP/Consulting Services

3 minutes

How does your climate measure up?

Last month, I described how to measure your success using the first five of the nine dimensions of organizational climate—the environment that everyone experiences when they come to work.

Today I’ll describe the remaining four. 

Taking stock in the nine dimensions of climate can help you decide where to invest resources in your efforts to build an effective people strategy and a healthy working environment.

How does your climate measure up?

6. Conflict

Conflict is the only negative dimension of culture. While debate, which we’ll cover later, is healthy conversation, conflict is not healthy. It’s the sniping. It’s the biting gossip. Conflict comprises the kind of interactions that take place when people genuinely dislike each other. When you assess and measure conflict, you want to come up with a relatively low score. Conflict is one of those things that the better you are at managing it and the more you understand how to have difficult conversations, the better off you are. To lower your conflict score, identify common goals and get people working together toward them.

7. Idea Support

Idea support has to do with how ideas are considered—whether you have a process to help innovation along. Just having an idea means nothing. The more important question is, “How do we try out this idea?” If everybody thinks the answer to “Can we test this new thought?” is “no,” that’s a huge problem. If that’s what’s happening in your climate, you’re going to lose out on potential innovation. 

8. Debate

This is the healthy part of communication. If you have people with different ideas, debate is the healthy conversation about “How can we do it this way” or “How can we do it that way” and “What would it look like if we did this?” Being able to have debate relies on a foundation of trust in the climate. People aren’t going to bring forward their ideas and plans unless they feel safe. Try to create times and places for people to debate their ideas—and see if you can remove judgment from the initial conversations about potential innovations.

9. Risk-Taking 

The question to ask here is, “Are you independently able to make decisions within your tasks without having to ask for management approval?” I’m a firm believer in making sure that you put guard rails around risk-taking, but allowing people to take some risks is very, very important. To promote calculated risk-taking, reinforce the importance of learning from your mistakes. Also, having a good plan for risk-taking is a great idea. You might assign red, green or yellow flags for different levels of risk, and within those colors allow for different levels of risk.

Using the nine dimensions of climate to assess what it’s like to work at your credit union can help shape your leadership, people strategy and talent development efforts. These two blogs can help you work with climate in a qualitative way. I’m happy to have a conversation about how to do so more scientifically. Schedule a call and let’s meet. 

Stepping into the gap between corporate complacency and organizational excellence is where Lesley Sears strives to be. In her role as VP/consulting services at CUES, Lesley leads CUES Consulting, which provides talent strategy support to credit unions of all sizes. Lesley is passionate about helping leaders find their company’s superpowers in talent development through a holistic approach: identify–develop–document-repeat. She’s a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, a certified executive leadership coach and has over 20 years of experience consulting with organizations across many industries to strategically develop their talent’s best selves. When she’s not working to help organizations maximize their potential, you can find her digging in her flower beds, reading or watching classic movies. Maybe, on a good morning in the spring and fall, you’ll find her running—really slowly.

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