Organizational Consultation XVI The Chartering Process: Part One
The final step would involve a charter dinner that all employees would attend. At the conclusion of this dinner, Gary would be the first to sign the charter. Other employees would then be invited to sign the charter and the evening would conclude with a celebration of shared commitment to the mission, vision, values and purposes of New England Standard. In the future, all new employees would be given a copy of the charter at the point they joined the organization. They would be assigned a mentor from a different department in New England Standard who would work with the new employee over the following three-month probationary period. The mentor would help the new employee clearly understand the history, meaning and implications of the company’s mission, vision, values and purpose statements. The new employee would be asked to sign the charter at the end of their probation period. In this way the spirit of chartering would be sustained.
Gary and other members of the senior administrative team at New England Standard enthusiastically supported our proposal, though they were all concerned about the impact that this chartering process would have on the actual operations of New England Standard. Would this be just another interesting exercise that Gary had prepared—or would this really make a difference? Everyone on the senior administrative team was willing to give it a try. My team immediately began to put the plan in operation.
Step One: Reviewing Culture Data and Formulating Values Statement
Members of our team began the consulting process by reviewing results from the organizational culture inventory that had been administered at the company. Even though this was not our inventory, members of our team understood the concepts underlying the instrument and we personally talked briefly with Gary’s colleague who had developed and validated the instrument to ensure that my team’s interpretation of the data was congruent with his own analysis.
We met with all the employees to review the data from the organization culture inventory. While fewer than half of the employees had been given the inventory, there was immediate and widespread agreement that the results accurately reflected the perspectives of all the New England Standard employees. The areas of agreement were indeed found in the organization, as were the areas of disagreement. A series of small group discussions were interspersed with plenary sessions involving all employees. I asked several questions regarding the prevalent values in the New England Standard Corporation. “What do the inventory results tell you about the values that have are now a prevalent part of this company?” We also asked the long-term employees about the enduring values of the New England Standard Corporation. “In what ways would the inventory results have been the same five years ago? In what ways are results from the inventory compatible with the founding values and principles of the company?”