Case study: Assessment


When waste becomes visible, things start to change


Despite emerging from the 2008 financial crisis relatively strong compared to many peers, a large Nordic organization struggled to reinvent themselves and really take advantage of the head start they had.

It was puzzling – the company was financially strong, had searched for all opportunities to lean out operations, and without a doubt employed some of the most competent people in their field.

It was only when the results of an organizational culture assessment came back did things really start to make sense. Based on the input from people across the organization, the assessment identified the gap between the perceived culture at the time against the desired culture – and also exposed the elements in the culture that people experienced that were potentially tying up energy in the organization, away from value creation for the business and stakeholders.

The assessment showed that more than 30 percent off energy that people used at work channeled into behaviors and actions that were not creating value. A third of the total capacity of the organization was potentially being wasted.

It made sense that despite feeling like they were working very hard, the impact realized didn’t seem to match up.


When the executive team together looked at the results, it both surprised them and gave them a sense of relief. Whilst worrying that a third of the organization’s capacity potentially was wasted – there was finally an answer as to what was most likely holding back the organization. Why so much effort was put in – and so little was turned into real impact. And when they knew that they could do something about it.

By uncovering the beliefs that reinforced the culture, those beliefs could be challenged and shifted – to more value-creating beliefs and mindset.The numbers also called for the executive team and senior leaders to also look upon themselves and their behaviors All realized that they too had played a significant role in generating the 34% of potential waste, and they had a responsibility to change.

 The assessment in itself was not a silver bullet for solving the complex challenges that the company faced – but by making the intangible dimension of culture and mindset visible, it gave the leaders the awareness that the organization had tremendous potential yet to unlock if they could shift from creating waste to creating value.

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