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Do you really want culture change?

By February 12, 2019Culture

Culture is being recognised as the next competitive advantage, with good reason. A great culture can make a significant difference to the performance of your organisation. When you have a great culture you will enjoy superior productivity and performance because people are more motivated, enthusiastic, and committed. You will also experience less absenteeism, conflict, staff turnover, and other problems. The net result can be truly amazing.

I’ve learned that people want to be part of a great culture. Even the most cynical, jaded and bitter employee, when asked, will admit they’d like to be part of something great. So the question is, how do you create that opportunity?

The biggest hurdle is belief. Will your people believe that a great culture is achievable? They definitely want it, but do they believe they can have it? Do they believe you will lead them to something amazing?

If you introduce another “change” program their cynicism will be at an all time high. How many failed change programs have they previously participated in? How many “flavour of the month” changes have occurred during their time with the organisation? It’s unlikely that a “change” program will inspire them to believe that a different culture is achievable.

I’ve seen plenty of people resist Culture Change. It is surprising because deep down I know they crave a positive and supportive work environment. So why do they resist? Because it’s a “change” program and for most people this means:

  1. Leadership will be imposing some changes
  2. It’s going to happen whether they like it or not
  3. They will probably lose something and be worse off
  4. This is just a fad

I know, without a shadow of doubt, that everyone wants to be part of a great culture. I also know they will contribute to the process if they believe you are sincere. So it makes sense to engage with your people in a way that will capitalise on their deep desire to be part of something amazing. This can be achieved if you follow a few simple rules:

Rule One – stop talking about culture change. It’s seen as just another change program and will not get a very favourable response.

Rule Two – minimise how often you use the word “culture.” As you will see it’s far more effective to name your culture and talk about that.

Rule Three – engage with your people in the discussion and let them influence the choices you make.

Rule Four – keep it simple. Creating a great culture can be achieved through 4 easy steps. We’ve dubbed them the A.D.A.P.T. process.

A – Align culture with Purpose and Strategy

This is amazing because it engages your people with the purpose and strategy of the organisation.

D – Define the culture needed to achieve your Purpose and Strategy

Have a conversation with your people to decide what kind of culture is needed to achieve the Purpose and Strategy. You will then define it as simple as possible, ideally with one word. From this point on you can discuss it as itself and stop using the word “culture.”

A – Assess your current culture

Giving your culture a name or identity will help you flesh out details that will help you in creating the steps in achieving the desired work environment.

P – Plan

Lay out the process in creating your ideal work culture. Take it one step at a time and also take into consideration some challenges you think you might face along the way and how to avoid them.

T – Transform

As you implement your plan your transformation will be complete.

If you want to achieve greatness you will need to create an amazing culture. This requires more than culture change, it requires engagement with your people, purpose, and strategy in order to create the transformation that is needed.

One of the greatest benefits you will experience from a program like this is the profound impact it will have on the well-being and psyche of the people in your organisation. This is because one of the most wonderful experiences a human being can have is to be part of a great team or culture. Creating that opportunity in your organisation is easier than you think.

Ross Judd

Author Ross Judd

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