Tuesday, July 20, 2021


Systematically change a culture takes vision, time and persistence by top leaders and the collaboration of employees, having effective frameworks/processes/ structures put in place to make change sustainable.

Culture is invisible, but one of the most critical success factors of the organization. Different businesses are at a different stage of the business maturity cycle. Culture and brand are the most important things that a company will make since they will define how the company interacts with its various stakeholders by a collective set of mindset and behaviors.

For decades, practitioners have been trying various ways and means to achieve culture change. In practice, culture change is not easy because you need to break down the old habit, and establish the new one. But still, culture is changeable with the right strategy and methodology. Culture change management framework provides guidelines, checklists, standards, processes, tools and building blocks, do & don't practices, to address diverse culture perspectives and make change sustainable.

Guidelines: Culture is collective mindset, attitude, and behavior. Whether at either organizational or societal scope, culture is complex and often invisible. With an ever-evolving business ecosystem, a corporation needs the culture to sustain cross-boundary engagement to discover external ideas, and manage those ideas to achieve business values. However, in those lagging companies, there’s culture inertia - people get stuck in the comfort zone and the silo mentality enlarges the multitude of gaps such as functional boundaries; dysfunctional management, innovation ineffectiveness. The guidelines become more crucial to be defined as core principles to drive culture change. It is less about controls, more about the "big why" clarity and management consistency.

Regardless of the nature of the organization, you can discover some similarities in culture such as strong vision and leadership, outward-looking rather than insular. willing to accept a degree of risk and experimentation, etc. Principles are not some out-of-date cliché or rigid processes to stifle change. Instead, they are based on the set of digital philosophies behind the methodologies and they help to shape the desired culture - the mindsets behind decisions, behaviors, and actions at all levels of the organizational hierarchy. Well-defined guidelines provide a more robust foundation that makes it possible to straightforwardly derive solution-level governance, set the frame of relevance and guide through culture changes and digital transformation to ensure the effectiveness of culture evolution practices.

Assessment: Culture is difficult to assess because the measurement of culture is not one dimension such as financial or a technical point, it’s a multi-dimensional evaluation. Culture is like an iceberg floating on the water, the tip of it is visible from the collective behaviors- how employees behave at the workplace with co-workers, interaction with customers, etc. but the major part under water is invisible, such as collective mentalities which you cannot control completely. In all conversations about culture, we need to remember that it is the policies, procedures, rewards and retributions that drive behavior and it is the employee behavior that expresses "culture."

Culture assessment is tough, but it is worth the effort because adaptive cultures tend to catalyze higher business performance compared to those with weak or non-adaptive cultures. And it is the pathway to change. But business leaders cannot assess it objectively largely due to a lack of effective measurement; management teams have the data to discuss finance and throughput regularly and at length, but in many cases, culture and its impact on performance suffers from extensive ignorance and a lack of collective responsibility. What gets measured, gets done. Culture assessment is difficult, but can be measured and managed against some models of the desired culture.

Checklists: Either individually or collectively, people have the choice to choose what reality they prescribe to: Isolation vs. togetherness, stagnation vs. growth, convention vs. innovation, etc. Culture enforces their choices. There are so many things culture can help the business accomplish such as strategy implementation, innovation, but there are also many obstacles that need to be overcome for nurturing an environment in which people can grow and contribute to the success of their organization. Not to mention that many organizations suffer from overloaded tasks and overwhelming information. It is critical to set the right priority, adapt to culture changes promptly.

Checklists are important because your goals and objectives will be your drivers, so you can use resources, time and talent scientifically. The organizational management needs to check: What’s the major culture issues in your organization? Is there a sea of administrative bureaucracy? Do you inspire open conversations about the work environment? What are the needed changes in behavior, process, communication, accessibility, engagement, approach? Is there a lack of recognition or honest feedback or a disconnect between recognition and performance? So the critical thing for business leaders is to identify significant culture-relevant problems and set the right priority to bring transparency and solve them smoothly. In line with being open and honest, balance the major culture change for encouraging desired attitude and behavior.

Process: An organization’s culture is extremely difficult to change, culture inertia is normal because people get stuck at the old ways to think and behave. Getting all employees on the same line is always difficult because too many mindsets are not willing to adapt and accept the reason to change the existing culture. Business leaders have to dive deeper to see the invisible in order to read digital sentiment clearly. They need to take a logic process and stepwise scenario to drive culture change evolution.

Technically, process management behind culture change comes from the need to develop repeatable sequences of activities that are reliable; culture change processes can be designed, approved, documented, and owned, but almost always require some combination of assets, resource/people assets, measurement and monitoring/management/coordination systems to truly make it work, so that organizations can deploy, manage, and attenuate/amplify against demand variety as needed.

Do & don't practices: Good culture lifts up an average strategy, and poor culture decelerates business speed. Any business change initiative involves a certain degree of risk in it, culture is a determinant upon how effectively the business initiative can create sustainable business value.Where you want to look for 'fit' is in relation to the values you want to build or maintain within your team, and the kinds of behaviors that you would expect to see as a result of, or in alignment with, those values. Organizational management can develop a set of Dos & Don’t practices for exploring and scale up their culture change efforts and ensure they achieve expected results. People are the core in the culture of organizations or societies, create an inclusive organization with every dip in the business lifecycle, from individual thinking to collective mind, improve resilience and reduce unnecessary organizational pressures. Everyone has a voice and every voice carries weight. Always listen to the two sides of the story. Let people become change agents or innovators, and share their compelling stories.

The spirit comes from the top. Senior executive leadership is necessary to effectively communicate the commitment and ongoing involvement of change, and seeking input for future adjustments. In some organizations, the management team lives in an illusional world when they 'assume' that their employees will accept change in a gracious manner. Organizations are a huge melting pot of various personalities and depending on the generation the compromised employees belong to, 'change' is probably the last thing on their minds, regardless of how enthusiastic the management team is. Culture is reflected and influenced by policies, practices, rewards and incentives. It is important for the management to leverage an effective framework approach, set good policies, build up a positive emotional climate, foster positive relationships, and communicate relentlessly.

Building a culture-savvy organization is important for the long term success of the business. The right culture is the invisible but critical success factor and the very fabric to keep the business system running smoothly. To systematically change a culture takes vision, time and persistence by top leaders and the collaboration of employees, having effective frameworks/processes/ structures put in place to make change sustainable.


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