Where to start - How about from the time I was told I got the job - great! I was extremely excited and was guns a blazin' ready to make an impact. Having been listening to manager tools for some time I thought I would have a good basis for managing effectively.....And then I started the job. It appears there has been a ton of both management and employee turnover in the last few years (mainly due to economic factors in the business) which has adversely (as would be expected) influenced the culture of the organization. It seems that the prevailing attitude is one of either "she/he won't be here long" (and therefore why bother) or the ever popular " I have been here an umpteen number of years so what do you know". The team I inherited seems to have the latter prevailing philosophy about the management (and dare I say me). I am at a loss for how to manage this group effectively. Part of the reason my boss brought me in from the outside was to make a "culture - change" but I am not sure where to begin.

I really need some coaching here! Thanks

RichRuh's picture
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I would start by getting to know your directs.

The way I have done this in the past is to take each one to lunch. Keep the conversation mostly personal, but find out their background and what they're working on. If you work in the tech industry, they'll probably complain- that's good information to have. (Be careful acting on their complaints until you get the whole picture, of course)

Start O3 meetings if you haven't already, preferably after you've explained it to them at lunch (try to avoid the mass e-mail).

Accept that some members of your team will view you with skepticism and cynicism. That's going to take some time to overcome, but if you say, and more importantly, DO the right things, they'll come around eventually. (And if one or two don't, well...)

sholden's picture
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I could not recommend enough starting 1on1s (O3s, One On Ones, etc.) with the new team. It is the first step to working through all the other suggestions from Manager-Tools.

Once you have them established and you are reaping the benefits, then you'll be able to move into other areas.


Mark's picture
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My deep apologies for not responding more quickly.

One on ones and feedback are the answer. "When you say you won't change, because you've been here longer than me, here's what happens. I lose respect for you. You sound like someone who is not a professional. And those things worry me. What can you do about this?"



Along with O3s.


damcg63's picture
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Not much to add except this....

On a number of occasions I ended up managing in 'hot landing zones'. I felt completely isolated and I found that individual contact was how I eventually noticed the small bright spots that I could leverage for change.

1- Be patient with your folks and yourself
2- Stick with the One on Ones just like Mark and everyone else said.
3- Make sure you are listening more than speaking...let the uncomfortable silence pass - then ask open-ended questions.
4- The folks will see mostly problems - don't waver - "I see how that is an issue; you've been here a while - [u]what do you suggest[/u]?"
5- Go to 1

Good luck!!

Steve Howell's picture

I have been implementing "culture change" a long time. Its not easy, but there are a few tips I can offer.

First - and most important - You need to understand what you are trying to do. "Culture" is not a real thing. You can not touch, feel, or buy it, so don't think of it as something that can be "changed" - It can't because it is not real.

Culture is a common learned behaviour. So what you are trying to change is people's behaviour. That means dealing with people. The most common reason "culture change" is difficult is because manager's try and tackle "culture" without dealing with people. They talk about process, metrics, discipline, and IT tools instead.

Just as everyone has said so far - you need to deal with your people, and gain influence with them. To do that you will need 2 things - their trust, and their respect. O3's will work great, but dont rely on them alone. You need to put in lots and lots of face time with the individuals on the team.

Some will click better with you than others and they are the one's to start with. Spend more time with them, reward their good behaviour with more face time. The people not behaving right will begin to notice that you act differently with them, the trick is to make sure everyone understands why.

Best of luck!