You want a better culture, but how do you make it happen? You tried a culture-change initiative and it didn’t work. Or, you’ve heard others who have and complained about the results, or lack thereof. Either way, you’re struggling with what to do next, because what you’re doing now isn’t working. The culture isn’t changing and you’re tired of losing your best people.
There Is Hope! Yes, You Can Make It Happen!
We understand your frustration; it feels like you’re trying to turn a freighter and need the full ten miles to do it. Your leadership, management, and staff are committed to the organization’s mission and the consumers of the organization’s services. But, you are facing two challenges, both of which are detracting from everyone’s focus on the mission. The first detractor is the inevitable differences in work style which cause friction between team members—this happens 360 degrees. The second detractor is that front-line managers, many of them newly promoted, don’t yet have the skills necessary to effectively manage their teams. The result is low morale, poor retention, complaints, and disciplinary actions occupy much of HR’s time. But there is hope—keep reading!
The Six Keys to Improving Your Organization’s Culture
Whatever the culture-improvement initiative, if you adhere to these six keys, you will improve your culture and a whole lot more.
Senior leadership must be committed to both the change and the process. It can’t just come from HR. Everyone on the leadership team must be committed and support the initiative.
You truly engage staff in the initiative. They participate, learn, practice, and use the new skills and gain new perspectives. A talking head saying “do this better” is insufficient at best and demoralizing at worst.
Surprisingly, this can be a real challenge. You can’t just rely on one means of communication; use multiple channels: email, newsletters, and staff meetings, for example. You have to reach everyone.
In organizations in which leadership is investing in improving the culture, there is usually a lack of trust. The best cure for distrust is transparency. Be open about what you’re doing and why. Celebrate successes and admit less-than-successes.
Include everyone. Seriously. The organization may not provide the same training to the all levels of staff that it provides to senior leadership, but if you leave anyone out, you risk slowing down and even derailing a culture-change initiative. Remember, it’s easier for managers to manage staff who have bought into the new way of collaborating.
6. Leveraging the Microcosm:
Don’t assume you know what each group within your organization needs. Ask a representative group (the “microcosm”) for input and insight, and you’re much more likely to deliver an initiative that makes a difference because it meets a need.
I’d love to hear what your experience with culture change has been. Write or call us anytime. If you found this interesting share with your friends and colleagues. If you want more, download my article called “Culture Matters.”