Culture Change


In prepping for a presentation I am supposed to give next year, I started thinking about my approach to consulting within large orgs, culture, and manager behavior. So far:

Much has been written corporate cultures and how to change them. There are theories about structural factors (flat or vertical? team-based or individually driven?), and leadership (heroic or quiet, analytical or inspirational), to name just two. And yet, there are always plenty of examples of organizations which attempt to model themselves on these concepts and whose cultures bear no resemblance to what the model proposes.

This is because the culture of an organization is almost exclusively a function of the behaviors of the employees and stakeholders in that organization. These models do create one of many potential pre-requisites for a successful culture, but then they fail. Why? Because they do not change a significant enough percentage of the behaviors in the organization. Most practitioners would agree that even with the best corporate/organizational roll-out of "a new and innovative change program", if no one changes their day to day behaviors, the "program" will fail (and reduce the chances that the next one will succeed.) Conversely, your employees and stakeholders will know - and perhaps more importantly say out loud - that the culture has changed when people change their behaviors.

This makes the goal of the change agent obvious. THE ONLY WAY to change an organization's culture is by changing the behaviors of the employees in the organization.

Therefore, managers need a toolbox of skills and activities that will specifically change the behaviors of their teams, whether those "managers are executive leaders, middle managers, or first line supervisors.

More soon...