Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Culture starts and ends with each of us

I’ve seen a rush of recent articles and blog posts on elements of ‘cultural transformation’. Model after model on how to mould an organisation’s culture around the way you want things done. Isn’t this the wrong way of looking at things?

No model or process is going to ‘make’ people do things differently, willingly and enthusiastically, in a way that re-shapes the organisation. No employees take an edict from on-high and embrace it to the extent that they love and follow it as their own.

What anyone eager to change the way an organisation works must do is articulate a vision of the future and engage them in the benefits of that change. Don’t lay down, in minute detail, every element you want to re-shape, but engage people in the ‘whats’ and the ‘whys’ and allow them to connect, interpret and change working practices to align. Set the parameters, in other words, and support teams and individuals to respond.

You can’t forcefeed colleagues with culture change. Instead, engage and empower them to take on your goals as their own, and make their own changes to support the vision you’ve outlined. I feel that’s a big difference between ‘transformation efforts’ that become embedded into the organisation and those that simply wither on the vine. 

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