Magazine article Management Services

How to Create Culture Change

Magazine article Management Services

How to Create Culture Change

Article excerpt

The phrase 'The culture has to change' is almost a daily occurrence in the media but is anybody listening? In recent history you have to ask 'are the cultures that exist in many of today's organisations actually fit for purpose?'. We have heard it in the context of the uncontrolled demise of Carillion, BHS, RBS, and Worldwide Banking with austerity effects that are ongoing. In the UK, the British MP expenses scandal is still simmering and not fixed. In the auto industry, the disclosure of Volkswagen worldwide emission irregularities is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of unacceptable behaviour in the sector. Sport is also a casualty. The Sky cycling team are under investigation for the use of the apparently non-regulated and documented of use of TUEs (therapeutic use exceptions of certain drugs) in the Giro de Italia and the Tour de France in 2017. The culture of organisations such as football is still in the limelight as is International Athletics. FIFA's culture is under a cloud and investigation for corrupt practices around vote rigging associated with the hosting of the upcoming World Cup. Pressure on the IAAF for 'inconsistency' and failing to maintain 'standards on drug use' resulting in the disclosure of widespread doping by Russian athletes has led to withdrawals in the Olympics, Paralympics and 2018 Winter Olympics. Investigation into the 'bullying culture' of Police and failing NHS Trusts and local authorities is almost a monthly occurrence, as well as poor performance in our wider educational system. It seems that the cultures that operate in many of our institutions, businesses and even charities such as Oxfam, are just not fit for purpose..

How important is culture in the scheme of things?

Organisational culture is vital to delivering the outcomes for which the organisation exists. The culture should match and facilitate the direction, business plan, strategies and operations of the business or organisation, no matter where and when it operates. If direction and goals change, the culture needs to do so first and provide a light towards the behaviours and values that will support the achievement of objectives, also defining those values and behaviours that are no longer helpful or inhibit the achievement of objectives.

Cultures can be weak or strong, negative or positive, forcefully shaped or cast and blown about like a paper bag in the wind - unsure of focus, intention and purpose. Ask the question - 'For what purpose do you wish to shape your culture?' and 'What culture will promote these end goals and outcomes?' Starting with the end in mind is the sole criterion for development at the early stages of culture change.

What is corporate culture and how important is it?

It might be a good idea to clarify what organisational culture actually is and how it can be built, shaped, installed and nurtured. There is much confusion about 'organisational culture' and how to change it for the better.

So, what is culture? It is the infrastructure, the glue that binds together people and processes to generate results. The culture maps tangible processes and activities that permeate the organisation, which should be geared to improved performance. The culture should become the major force that unites and propels the organisation onward.

The culture is founded upon a simple model of the 'cultural Iceberg' which evolved from my book The Iceberg Agenda which details and documents the core components of developing a high performance business culture (see diagram).

Most organisations focus on changing those elements of the 'culture' which are easily visible (using the Iceberg analogy above water) but which have little impact on performance. Tinkering with logos, branding, and changing the physical work environment does not lead to performance improvement. However, working on the deeper element of the culture requires instigating serious research into how positive corporate beliefs and values can be installed in the organisation and manifest in significant corporate performance. …

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