How Can You Really Change Your Company Culture?
Start with the Mindset of Your Senior Leaders.
I have worked with many clients who struggled to make a shift in their company culture. These leaders hear about “best in class” organizations that achieve amazing results and want the same for their company.
Typically I hear comments like these:
“What are they doing that we are not?”
“I just don’t like the direction we are heading.”
“Why can’t we keep good people?”
“Why can’t we get new initiatives to stick?”
Where Should You Start?
There can be a tendency to place blame on the employee base and fail to address the attitude and buy in of the senior leadership team. Many organizations don’t realize that a true, lasting shift in culture will only happen when there is first a change in mindset at the leadership level. It is senior leadership that holds the key to real, lasting change in an organization because of their influence over all facets of their company.
So, what’s wrong with a quick fix mindset? The simple answer is that it causes frustration. The reality is changing a culture is a journey and expecting quick and meaningful results will lead to disappointment. It took a good deal of time to develop the existing culture, so it will take some time to change it. Addressing company culture is not a decision to jump into lightly. My advice is to strongly consider whether you are truly committed to the process involved in changing a culture. It’s not easy. Change is hard and employees are going to resist. Leadership will be tested and go through situations where they don’t see results right away. Many will want to give up.
The good news is that it is all worth it. The benefits of making a shift in culture is a result of long-term, strategic thinking that can increase productivity, increase efficiency, decrease turnover, and potentially add to the bottom line. However, these benefits come only when culture change is part of a business’s overall strategy.
But take warning! There is an adage in my line of work that says “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” An organization can develop the best strategy in the world, however if employees at all levels over the organization don’t believe in it, that strategy is worthless.
Are You Ready for a Journey?
An organization that wants to “change their culture” must be willing to embark on a journey of developmentthat places special emphasis on their leaders. This journey has a specific path that leads not only to real, sustainable change but ongoing growth and development through whatever the future holds. It starts with an honest assessment to DEFINE the current state. This should lead to an intentional DECISION to decide to take action. The work involved with LEAD your company through the steps necessary to build strength and COMMIT to the ongoing work involved in achieving and maintain the desired results. Each step of this journey will yield noticeable results and changes that ensure you are on the right path!