As Napoleon, the famous 19th century French General remarked, “Attacking Moscow was a strategic objective, getting a million men to march there was culture”.
Cultures can be both positive and negative and they are notoriously hard to change when the change is perceived by people to work against the organisation’s interests. This is because cultures are inherently resistant to change – think hierarchy, silo’s, power, vested interests. There are differing levels and types of culture – work, team, profession, country etc. And people and their relationships are crucial in changing them.
Simply put, people, teams and group dynamics determine whether you can change a culture as much as having a good change strategy and plan. The basic fact is that people spend too much time protecting status and figuring out where they are in the hierarchy.
So, what can we do to implement successful culture change?
To shift culture, we need to create new experiences, beliefs and outcomes for people. And ultimately to drive any kind of change, people must feel empowered and accountable. Leaders need to provide this accountability and empowerment by acting as role models. And for people to feel empowered and accountable we need to work with individuals at the level of mind set and their beliefs.
Leaders need to be able to answer the fundamental emotional responses that we all have:
- Will this change be a threat or an opportunity?
- Will it affect my status in the team or company?
- Will I be able to predict anything with confidence or certainty?
- Will I be treated fairly?
- Will my relations with others change? Improve or deteriorate.
- And how much control over my work will I have?
Ultimately, people need to believe that they can change and that they are equipped and supported to change. Leadership is the key lever.
Learning Objectives could include:
- Understanding what culture is and why it is resistant to change in organisations
- Mapping your existing and desired Culture
- Defining and implementing an effective Change Model and Philosophy
Business Outcomes could include:
- Deploying tools to successfully map your culture from the current culture to desired culture
- Creating effective strategies for implementing culture change that actually works
- Deploying approaches and tools to engage people with the design and implementation of agile people processes in your business