Maslow Revisited, Part IV: Culture Compass

Q7 Culture Compass

Q7 Collectiver Culture Compass is a unique tool that helps business owners and managers align their teams and define the business culture and Purpose.

How can I attract “googley” talent to my business? How did Google come up with their “Googleyness” criteria that are allegedly key to their hiring decisions? 

If you run a hi-tech business that depends on the professionalism of your people and their ability to work in teams, you must have asked yourself:  How can I attract “googley” talent for my business? How did Google come up with their “Googleyness” criteria that is allegedly the key to their hiring decisions?

“Googleyness” is not a rare trait. Nor is it new or unique. In simple terms, it is an HR construct attempting to be inspiring, politically correct, but still retaining some practical meaning. No wonder its definition has been changing over the years. It may have been a useful gimmick for Google and its imitators but not for a down-to-earth business, which probably is your case.

For a company like yours, we have a better approach: Q7 Culture Compass.

With Q7 Culture Compass, you can develop your own selection criteria that are tailor-made to meet your business needs – and measurable.

Q7 was the first tool created by Collectiver Inc. With the help of a talented software engineer Eric Bouchard, the tool was launched in 2011 with LinkedIn API as a “smart recommender tool” that was intended to help align people and teams. As the ultimate goal of the tool was to improve efficiency of people working together, we baptized it as Collectiver.

The original Collectiver was different from the Q7 tool we use with our clients today. Collectiver 1.0 was gauging person-to-person and person-to-organization fit. It could continue growing its database – but due to a change in the LinkedIn privacy policy, the tool was disconnected from LinkedIn API a few months after its launch. Talk about serendipity!

The new tool, Collectiver 2.0, a.k.a. the Q7 Culture Compass is using the same scientific foundation but has a higher-level objective: it maps and compares individual profiles and calculates their alignment. The profiles are built using Dr. Shalom Schwartz’s theory of Basic Human Values, and the alignment of individual profiles (person-to-person and person-to-team) is calculated as a Congruency ratio.

Recently, a team of Harvard researchers came up with a model of organizational culture types, based on the same socio-psychological foundation. The Q7 Values Map aligns with the Culture Map developed by Boris Groysberg’s Harvard team – and, in addition to a visual presentation of the team members’ alignment (or misalignment), it gives a good indication of the team’s dominant culture. (Watch the HBR video –>)

Q7 is a powerful indicator of the team culture and of its future performance potential.

Over the years, we have applied the Q7 repeatedly in a medium-sized private business environment and obtained interesting, sometimes unexpected, results. Now, ten years since the original Collectiver inception, we can say with confidence that the Q7 tools, based on Shalom Schwartz’s Basic Human Values theory and Abraham Maslow’s Human Needs hierarchy, is a powerful indicator of the team culture and future performance potential.

Key takeaways based on the 10-year experience using the Q7 tool with teams and individuals:

Despite its extremely “lean” nature (answering seven A/B questions takes one minute), the tool gives a good snapshot of the person’s cultural profile.

We tried to run other tests in parallel with Q7 or used the original questionnaire created and tested by Dr. Schwartz (20 – 40 questions). The results were very close – but Q7 takes only one minute to complete. This “speed factor” is important for office environment where employees tend to be “busy.”

The Q7 demonstrates a 70-75% repeatability rate – which is a very good result for a one-minute assessment.

You may think, and what about the remaining 25%? It appears that those are the “politically savvy” ones, anxious to come up with a “correct” answer. But as in Q7 all answers are correct by definition, looking for a better answer inevitably produces almost random results.

The individual positions and value profiles generated by Q7 are a reliable predictor of the team members’ future performance and “longevity.”

A recent assessment of the top management team in a high-tech company has brought an unexpected discovery. The top managers with the lowest 360-degree assessment results appeared to be the ones who are misaligned with the rest of the team. Additional observation – although this may sound more like an anecdote: those with the lowest scores are the ones who never ask about the results of their assessments. When “soft” matters become important for business performance, “discoveries” like these define the performance potential of the team members and ring some bells which otherwise would have stayed silent.


Promoting the primacy of the team culture and values alignment, we do not support “disruption” as a strategy or the idea of “misfits” as cultural drivers. Likewise, we do not support the rallying cries for diversity and inclusion for the sake of diversity. This is a flawed policy that is costing businesses and governments a lot of money.

Promoting diversity for diversity’s sake is a flawed policy that is costing businesses and governments a lot of money.

Teams with low Q7 congruence ratio may be touted as “diverse” by some disruption enthusiast but in practice, they are not more creative than an average team and are not an attractive place to work.

Our approach is to define the target culture of the organization first. Only then we select the team members or rearrange the team based on the dominant values’ alignment with the Purpose of the organization. The Q7 Culture Compass is a very helpful tool that will help you get there.

Accepting misfits (i.e. persons whose basic values do not fit the culture of the organization) will not help create an efficient business environment. It will guarantee low employee engagement leading to workplace stress and poor performance.

However, if you stay honest with yourself and select candidates strictly on their values alignment – regardless of their color, creed, age, or genitalia – you are guaranteed to put together a genuinely diverse, inclusive and competent team capable to reach the highest levels of performance and eventually taking your business from Good to Great to Excellent.

Read more about the Q7 Culture Compass Tool: here and here.

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