Preparing For Successful Organizational Culture Change

November 24th, 2015   •   no comments   
Preparing For Successful Organizational Culture Change

While most of your employees likely understand that their primary responsibility at work is — well — to work, I’m going out on a limb here and guessing that they don’t want to be treated like mindless drones in the process.

In today’s hyper-connected world, employees are making their voices heard: They want to join organizations that stand for something. They want to align themselves with a corporate culture that fits their own beliefs and values. A place where they can bring their best selves and contribute in ways that make a difference.

So, before you dive headfirst into the process of valiantly changing your culture single-handedly, take a step back and realize that your employees may want to be a part of the process.

What type of culture must exist in order to drive the behaviors you need to succeed? And how can you help navigate the change necessary to create that environment—one in which your employees are actually invested in the outcomes?

5 Things to Consider For A Successful Culture Change Effort

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Unfortunately, there’s no single recipe for developing a company culture that drives the performance you’re looking for. Your organization’s unique history, goals, values, and ways of working determine what culture exists and your strategy determines what culture you need to succeed.

Rather than focusing on what you believe will achieve your desired performance, your efforts are better served focusing on what workplace changes will help your employees behave in the ways that align with the execution of your strategy. If your current culture is preventing your employees from doing their best work, that culture needs to change.

Here are 3 things to consider, before you get started:

1. Don’t wait. If you know that your culture is ineffective at driving the behaviors you need from your team, you can’t hide behind the delusion that it will magically improve once business picks up or your company’s structure evolves.

Your toughest competition is improving its company culture all the time, reacting to changes in the market before they happen and intentionally designing its culture to encourage productive employees. Don’t wait to start creating the culture your company needs for a leg up on its competitors.

2. Be rigorous. Organizational change is tough, complex and a lot of it is not very sexy.  It’s imperative that culture change efforts be conducted in a methodical way, the details are managed and actions are coordinated and integrated across the organization.

It’s also critical that a comprehensive measurement and evaluation plan be developed so that outcomes can be understood.  If we’re not measuring our progress in terms of business outcomes, how do we know if we’ve been successful?  Worse yet, how do we know when what we’re doing isn’t right and we need to change course?

3. Call in an expert. Look, as a consultant in the culture space this may sound very self-serving. But how can you expect to successfully lead a culture change effort with little to no expertise on the topic? That’s akin to performing open-heart surgery on yourself: Even if you’re a cardiac surgeon it probably isn’t advisable.

Navigating your company’s culture change effort can be tricky when you’re right in the middle of it. When you’re at the helm, it’s especially tough to see problems objectively at different levels of your organization.

Calling on an experienced outsider can help you understand the changes you need to make and guide you toward a plan to implement them. It can be tough to embark on a new direction for your company alone, and it’s especially hard when you’re accustomed to a certain way of doing things.

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