Is your company’s culture a constraint for growth? Part 2
Welcome to the second part of our blog on organizational culture change for growth. We’re using insights from Deloitte’s informed commentary in their article ‘Catalyzing organizational culture change’. In our last blog we noted that a company’s culture, rather than external forces, could be it’s biggest constraint for growth. You can access the first blog here. (add link)
In this post, we’re exploring the series of steps outlined to catalyze cultural change for growth in a bit more detail.
Step 1: Diagnose, name and validate the culture of the organization
Think about a few organisational outcomes, the behaviours leading to them, and the beliefs that led to them. The table below illustrates a few examples to get your head around this.
Making a note of frustrating outcomes as well as the behaviours that drive them allows us to surface some of the underlying beliefs. But they still need validation. Beliefs arise within a context, one that must have made sense at a point in time. If the belief no longer serves a purpose, recognise where it came from and the reason it may have been useful. A critical CEO of years ago had seeded a culture of not sharing opinions and delegating important decisions upwards to mitigate personal risk. Employees were afraid to be publicly dressed down in this example given from a transition lab discussion run by Deloitte, and this had carried through for a long time.
Step 2: Reframe the existing narrative
We need to show the value of a widely held belief, as well as the pitfalls and possible inappropriateness of the belief in other contexts. Here is the same table, with a different frame:
Step 3: Role model and communicate cultural change
If upholding certain beliefs no longer serves a useful purpose, articulating and demonstrating new beliefs that do is necessarily. You’re replacing existing beliefs with those beliefs required to support desired outcomes. As a leader, demonstrating and role modelling them is important.
‘You have to behave and act in a manner consistent with the culture you desire.’
Don’t preach excellence and innovation, for example, whilst accepting mediocre leadership around you with no track record or promise of delivery. Sometimes recruiting new leaders into your organisation helps to accelerate the pace of cultural change. They should share the beliefs you wish to manifest in your company.
Step 4: Reinforce a new belief system
Looking for sustainable change? Revisit and align incentives and performance management policies. Also consider publishing a ‘cultural manifesto’. You can find out more about how to do that here: How To Create a Culture Manifesto for Your Organization (And Why It’s a Good Idea).
Keep the messaging coming, consistent and clear to reinforce beliefs and expected behaviours. And don’t forget to use the digital media we have at our fingertips.
So where does the C-suite come into all of this? Well according to Deloitte, they should be involved in all four steps outlined above.
A final word:
‘Not engaging and understanding culture systematically early in a transition increases the likelihood of the observation widely attributed to Peter Drucker “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”!’
Can you share your experiences with us?