Building a culture plan sits at the core of how you transform organisational cultures. Without a plan, it’s like shooting in the dark: you sort of know where you want to go, but you have no idea how to get there. Most organisations are familiar with building annual plans for infrastructure, IT, people, strategy and operations. However, when it comes to culture, few businesses are used to develop effective plans.
What is a culture plan?
A culture plan is, in essence, a list of the activities that will take place across the year and that will shift the culture towards your target. Those activities do not happen in a vacuum, but will have been weighted and carefully selected against a number of criteria. They should be moving the culture in the right direction.
What does a culture plan contain?
The culture plan will bring under one umbrella the following elements:
How do you build the culture plan?
Different organisations have different ways of developing their plans. Sometimes, it will be developed by one person or a department that has the ultimate accountability for culture. Other times – and this is my preferred option – a cross-functional team will be put together. This team will use the information at hand and, working closely with the executives and the rest of the business, will refine the culture blueprint, brainstorm new initiatives and review all existing processes to ensure they are aligned culturally. The method produces a plan that is fully owned by the organisation.
How do you implement the culture plan?
If you have defined a simple and effective governance process, the implementation should be seamless. The trick is to start measuring progress from the beginning and to engage the organisation at large. Celebrate small and big achievements, for example when an initiative is complete or when the culture starts shifting and keep communicating. Use quick wins to sustain momentum and enthusiasm.
At the end of year one or at the end of your planning cycle, review what has worked and what has not worked. Drop the initiatives that have not proven to be effective (there is no point keeping them simply before they were started in the first place) and develop new ones. And do not forget to check that your blueprint is still clearly aligned with your strategy.
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