Culture Change Starts at the TOP

Change or Transformation or any improvement effort fails or succeeds because of one thing and that is CULTURE.

Organizations often think that change happens by using or focusing only on tools, but forget to look at the bigger picture of change, wider impacts of change, particularly on people and how they move from current to the new situation.  Change can never happen if the PEOPLE aspect is missing. Its people who drive the change and its people who are affected by the change. According to the survey conducted by Strategy &, organizational culture plays a critical role in change management.  Culture should be seen widely even more than companies strategies or operating models.

But the problem is with the mind-set.

Where does culture come from?

It usually comes from the top. For whatever reason, they value certain things & behave in ways that seem to help the organization succeed. Culture can be a great enabler of organizational change. Culture is influenced by unconscious assumptions which determine how a group perceives, thinks, and feels. The founders and early leaders in the organization bring cultural solutions into the new group of people comprising the organization. They arrive at these solutions by trying out different options, and adopting or rejecting them based on their usefulness. Click here to read more about organization culture.

“Setting the tone for corporate culture starts with the person in the top leadership role.” For instance, if the boss uses derogatory language in meetings or mistreats people, this sends a message to the workplace that it is ok to behave that way; and, some will follow that lead. Employee behavior will generally be reflective of leadership’s behavior.  And such group behavior becomes a culture. A leader concerned about workplace behavior should look inward to discern whether or not his or her own behavior is setting a low standard.  Therefore culture change starts at the top & goes down. Culture change should be put in action by the leaders. Leaders that recognizes how employees are embodying the culture will stoke more adoption and greater infusion of culture into the day-to-day work that drives performance.

Top management must facilitate or inhibit change in an organization. They should be able to recognize the problems or issues that are acting as a hindrance to attainment of corporate goals.

In a nutshell, in order to survive, organizations & their culture must continuously evolve and change. Six conditions prompting change:

1.    Economic crisis

2.    Changes in laws and regulations

3.    Social development

4.    Competition

5.    Demographic trends

6.    Technological changes

In case you missed it, my last post was Improvement Opportunities That Are Hard for Managers to See

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