If changing your culture were as simple as waving a magic wand, the world would be full of perfectly run organisations with ecstatic employees. Culture is the manifestation of what is really valued and therefore change commands time and dedication. While there may not be a magic wand, there are 5 secrets ingredients that can ensure your cultural transformation efforts succeed.
- Linking strategy & culture
It is essential that Executives understand the link between culture and what they are trying to achieve from a business perspective. Whilst culture is a ‘nice to have’ it will never have the focus over a sustained period if it isn’t intrinsically linked to business goals.
Choose the few key behaviours that will ‘unlock’ your business and the few activities that are the most meaningful and impactful. Focus on behaviours and focus on the number of things in your plan.
- Reality & rhetoric
Culture change, more than any other change, is more nuanced than ticking activity off a plan. Culture change involves setting the vision, engaging hearts and minds AND ensuring that the day-to-day experience is somewhat aligned to the rhetoric. Pacing communicating with the pace at which your leadership can change behaviour is critical. Finding and promoting your natural role models, gives you a chance to bridge the gap between your communication message and your leaders starting to change.
- Leaders, leading by example
Leaders influence culture through their own behaviour as role models, and through the behaviours that they encourage, discourage or just allow in others. To achieve an organisation where employees live the Target Culture, it is vital that leaders at all levels are walking the talk. The most difficult and most important part of living the Target Culture is consistency and alignment across the leadership and management cadre.
- Systemic change
Culture is created by the unspoken messages sent by behaviours, symbols and systems. Changing culture therefore requires an organisation to understand what is causing the current culture and systematically changing enough of the messages so that people get a strong enough message for change.