Culture: It all Starts with Mind-Set

“I’m an accountant. I’m all about making money. If you want to make money, get your culture right first. Don’t waste your time on the other stuff.” (Giam Swiegers, former CEO of Deloitte Australia)

Most of us understand its importance, but actively managing workplace culture in order to optimise results can be a tricky business. Even once you’ve got a handle on what culture is (and for the record, I prefer a simple definition: “Culture is the way we do things around here”), accept its importance (organisations with the most constructive cultures significantly outperform those with the least constructive cultures: quality +32%, teamwork +28%, satisfaction +26%, Human Synergistics International, 2014), and have determined that the current culture of your business/organisation is hindering performance, it can be a bit baffling to know where to start the change process.

Carolyn Taylor in her book “Walking the Talk: Building a Culture for Success” (Random House, 2005), presents the following framework which aligns closely with my own experience over 20 years helping clients improve outcomes through effectively diagnosing and improving the culture of their workplaces:

Change in the mind-sets of leaders

Leads to

Change in the behaviour of leaders

Leads to

Different decisions being made by leaders, in-line with their new beliefs and values

Leads to

People attributing meaning to decisions (symbols) associated with a change in values

Leads to

New messages being received throughout the organisation about what is now valued (supported by changing enablers which have simultaneously been redesigned)

Leads to

Other people in the organisation changing their behaviour to fit into the new norms

Leads to

Further reinforcement that the culture and its values have now changed

Leads to

New performance outcomes, the effect of the chosen values. Read more

Succeeding in the Culture Change Playground

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates

I saw this posted on Linked In the other day and it reminded me of a question I am often asked by clients when speaking with them about potential workplace culture change programs.

The question usually arises while I’m extolling the virtues of taking a structured, collaborative approach to assessing, envisioning and managing workplace culture as a means to improving engagement, productivity and bottom line results. The client or prospect often nods knowingly, then looks thoughtfully, before asking the question, usually along the lines of:

“Yeah, well that’s great, but we have a couple of individuals/teams that are very resistant to change and I just can’t see them coming on board. What do we do with them?” Read more