How to Change Organizational Culture

All change is hard, but cultural change is a particularly difficult transformation because of the qualitative elements. What are the qualitative elements of an organizational culture? They include things like values, communication styles, ways of working (i.e. Agile vs. agile), psychological safety, and employee sentiment. A change of organizational culture is important for the business to get right, no matter if you are going through a Merger / Acquisition, implementing a game changing technology, or trying to improve your Employer Brand for external talent.

Here are the top three work efforts you need to ensure you include when changing organizational culture:

  • Values alignment is a process of understanding what is important, building proof points of actions that demonstrate commitment and communicating to the broader organization. Not only do leaders need to be aligned on what your values mean, they also need to be clear on how to apply them to how work gets done. To ensure that values are aligned throughout the organization, it’s important that all levels are given the opportunity to go through the same process of understanding, demonstrating, and communicating values.
  • Change Management that prioritizes benefits realization over installation. With culture, it’s not enough to install a plaque in your lobby with your new values, successful change is about the values showing up in day-to-day decisions (the benefits of a great culture). To do that, a proper understanding of what will be changing, who will be involved, and the risks involved is necessary. Good change management helps to provide transparency on all of the parts that culture can impact in your organization, and develop a plan to actively manage those change initiatives.
  • Addressing your Operating Model is both a gap assessment and action plan. This is a more detailed review of the ‘People, Process, Technology’ that is usually included in change management assessment. The key here is to ensure that important elements like your incentive structure and governance align with the values that drive your culture. If team members don’t see the entire organization aligned to a way of thinking, then it can become difficult for them to behave in alignment with your aspirational culture.

Are you looking for help changing your organizational culture? Send us an email, we’d love to connect and talk about the strategies and tactical steps you can take to transform your culture from good to great! 

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