Aligning Culture and Capability

By: Kim Yabsley • 10 months ago •

An integrated approach to assessing organisational capability that considers culture as key to the developing organisation is essential to proactive identification of functional barriers which have the potential to impact the achievement of organisational goals.

True collaboration requires the right balance of people, skill and corporate power to achieve outcomes that are derived from both insight and then leveraged and scaled for application.

This concept represents a revolutionary approach which prioritises people in the context of their contribution and commitment to commercial outcomes.

This prioritisation is then evidenced through engagement and results in outcomes at both the individual and organisational level

Innovation is a foundation requirement for the age of automation.

Engagement that enables insight and leads to action is fundamental to innovation.

While automation is essential to the developing organization, we must prepare our workforces for this new era with more emphasis on the balance between strategic insight, interpersonal skills and commercial outcomes.

By revisiting the basics of human dynamics and psychology, we can bridge the gaps that arise during this time of great change.

The digital age trend towards less human interactivity represents the potential risk of greater inter-relational issues.

We need proven ways to apply enhanced interpersonal skills if we want increased efficacy in workplace environments moving forward.

Mayer et al. (1995) proposes an integrated model, originally designed to enhance safety in operational environments which defines trust as based on perception, specifically relating to three key factors:

  1. Ability (Perceived Competence)
  2. Benevolence (Perceived degree of Care shown)
  3. Integrity (Perceived honesty and openness)

Overlaying management and communications theory onto this model suggests that the perception of care and communication activity have tangible impacts on organisational outcomes.

When individuals feel considered, have the opportunity and access to mechanisms which enable them to contribute meaningfully to the organisation, they feel like their unique insights, skills, personality and potential have a place within the environment.

When managed, this sense of belonging creates a commitment, that leads to loyalty, which translates to organisational competency.

Diversity is an expansive quality for organisations, but it requires genuine commitment to enhanced communication in action; a two-way dialogue for improved relationships that spans the gap between compliance and strategic intention.

To get to true diversity, organisations need to walk the talk.

Employees see straight through the rhetoric of tick and flick culture. They sense whether their opinions are valued based on their experience of being heard.

At the leadership level, its often easy to collapse the inability to deliver on requests, with workforce perceptions of not being valued.

Census data provides us with a snapshot of modern Australia. This snapshot reveals that over a quarter (26%) of Australia's population was born overseas and a further one fifth (20%) had at least one overseas-born parent.

Throughout the 100 years since the first National Census in 1911, migrants have made up a large component of the Australian population.

Diversity in workplaces represents a complex challenge for culture, which is all about regulating the employee experience.

“Workplace diversity refers to the variety of differences between people in an organization.

That sounds simple, but diversity encompasses race, gender, ethnic group, age, personality, cognitive style, tenure, organizational function, education, background and more, communication, adaptability and change”.

Improvement ideas often come from the floor and social resilience is one key to organisational success.

The barbeque test shows us that the way individuals interact and/or discuss their organisation socially, has an enhancing or undermining effect on employee perceptions of culture.

This effect represents a significant contribution to culture.

Culture is nothing more than the sum of relationships which includes attitudes, approaches, communication styles, preferences and likeability.

The complexity of diversity adds to the challenge of building and sustaining improved culture in any organisational. The more different people are, the less likely they are to connect socially. And social resilience is key to organisational change and ultimately, development.

The less we have in common, the more important it becomes to find common ground if we want to create sustainable cultures and organisational effectiveness.

Identifying culture barriers is a key component of organisational analysis which is often overlooked. Culture can be hard to define yet deeply impactful.

It weaves together key elements fundamental to the developing organization, shaping how it attracts and retains talent, influencing competitiveness, guiding leadership expression, enabling engagement, determining change and ultimately, optimising growth.

Culture refers to the collection of inter-relational skills that drive human interactivity.

Aligning culture and capability gives us a unique and effective way to consider the link between people and corporate power.

We can then apply design thinking for the development of integrated solutions which are systemic and responsive, considering long-term needs of the organization and its people.

The Cultures of Excellence Framework offers a proven method for sustaining an enhanced culture which considers the essentials:

  1. Pillars of Excellence: A 10-step plan for individuals to develop insight, take-action and contribute meaningfully to organizational outcomes.


  1. Principles of Excellence: A structured model for review and analysis of organizational enablers and barriers that ensures operational impacts, risks and measures of success are appropriate and clearly defined.


  1. Inspired Engagement: The integration of individual and organizational efforts.

The hidden value of aligning culture and capability is an integrated approach to developing strategic insight and planning for growth that prioritizes culture in the context of organizational achievement.

True organisational achievement must consider the needs of the developing workforce more broadly than just the immediately organisational environment.

Future shaping is defined as the trend by which we “identify and share emerging trends”.

At its most basic, this is an organisational approach for recognising and strategizing around potential and barriers while still being able to strike the balance that considers the following aspects:

  1. Relationship management
  2. Outcomes based
  3. Action orientation
  4. Human performance improvement

Once we have an alignment of culture and capability, diversity becomes intrinsic to culture. It can be represented by a range of views, skills and backgrounds/ experience. If this is then supported by an organisational commitment to respect and inclusiveness that transcends these elements and suggests that the more contribution to solutions, the better and more considered an outcome. Don’t forget that employees are often representative of client/ stakeholder interests.

Diversity depends on an alignment of culture and capability which is genuine, integrated and outcomes focused.

Kim Yabsley

As a leading consultant in the field of organisational development Kim has helped
many organisations ‘future proof’ themselves through the development and
implementation of strategic frameworks to manage change and develop resilient

Kim has significant experience in various communications, organisational development
and strategy roles across the public and private sectors and has assisted clients to
identify and understand organisational gaps, develop tools to address these gaps and
facilitate the implementation of tools to ensure sustained change in the workplace,
measurable through business outcomes.

032 head web

Kim’s experience extends to, project management, facilitation, training and employee engagement. She is an international speaker, author and expert in developing emotional intelligence that has practical application within organisations.

Kim is a highly competent facilitator who speaks with authority and creates the opportunity for audiences to listen for what is possible for themselves and their teams in the process of organisational development.

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