By William T Batten
You might think changing an organisation’s culture is like the old adage of eating an elephant.
You take it one bite at a time.
I’m not gonna lie – the bulk of the work will come in tiny, almost immeasurable steps.
Refining a process here.
Instilling a value there.
Each step building on all the others.
But incremental steps create incremental improvements.
In order to revolutionise a culture… you need a revolution.
If you’re interested in organisational transformation, I recommend looking up the SPEC study. The researchers analysed start-ups in Silicon Valley – a rich source of data around culture, success and failure.
One of their many findings?
If you want to change the culture, change the leadership.
It’s no surprise that employees look upwards and follow what they see. Part of that is unconscious – we humans are social creatures who instinctively follow our leaders. Part of it is deliberate calculation by people wanting to advance their careers.
That’s the easy way – leave.
The harder way?
Well, that involves a well-planned campaign. A storm of interlocking parts that reshape the culture from the inside out, and from the top down.
The first step is to figure out what needs changing. Do you need more innovation, greater customer service, what?
I recommend, as always, building organisational trust.
Because it makes every future change initiative easier. People eagerly follow leaders they trust, consciously and unconsciously.
They drag their heels – again, consciously and unconsciously – when they question your intentions or competence.
Trust makes an organisation come alive.
It’s the ultimate strategic advantage – a magnet for talent, ideas, investment and (should you need it) forgiveness.
Whatever you choose, choose wisely.
The next step is to measure the current state of things. As anyone in the social sciences will tell you, that measurement won’t mean much… in isolation. But it will provide a benchmark you can measure against later.
Then, design a communications strategy. A weekly email update and a few town hall meetings won’t cut it. You want the change to be on the forefront of everyone’s mind – that requires overcommunication.
Figure out how to saturate the mental terrain with your vision of the future.
Deliver what information your people need through microlearning. Not speeches, not seminars, not unwieldy SOPs. Make it short, sharp and easily searchable.
Get your people involved. Have a clear vision and hand over control to anyone who steps up. Trust and support your employees – they know better than anyone what needs to change and how.
Live and breathe the change initiative.
If you manage this, you’ll see results within months. Within years, your organisation will become unrecognisable.
The best way to enhance your organisation is with the ultimate advantage: trust.
But how do you measure something like that, let alone improve it?
Especially if your workforce is stretched thin, cynical and burned out on change?
There are simple, effective and proven strategies you can begin implementing today. I know you can unlock the creativity, productivity and joy of your employees.
Learn how today with my free white paper and all the resources you need to launch your own trust-based change initiative: