High Velocity Culture Change

Most managers are not good at cultural change especially when they are the front line to lead changes in the organization. Changing the culture in an organization is hard, heavy duty, and battle intensive for those responsible to lead that charge. Most managers do it as well as employees by taking the lead from their managers because the have to. Not that they want to but it is part of the survival process in an organization.

I would recommend the following if you are the person(s)/group(s)/executive team leading this major effort to keep pace with the changing environment, business, and any successors and/or assignees in an acquisition:
Use methods that are not standard operating processes - this will make people operate out of their existing cultural orientation:

  1. Change should be guided by where the organization needs to go rather than laborious cultural analysis and metrics. Make sure that the new highway for change is "clear to all employees" and that managers "get it and preach it"
  2. Blow up current understandings, destabilizing the organization so they have to move in a different direction. This will provide new energy in the organization; 
  3. Each facilitator/manager/group/executive team member has to show that they care more;
  4. Change the reward system and the milestones along the way so people understand there is a payoff for the change;Communicate more than ever and often, clearly articulating the logic, acknowledging the changes, and their effects along the way;
  5. Promote what you want the end result to be and how it will affect the organization, revenues, and profits;Make sure the people feel free from the old system;You need to expect that there will be people who will not buy into the new culture, loosing some valuable human capital along the way;
  6. Make sure all employees are involved; set up project leads - interdisciplinary and cross cultural. Blow up the bureaucracy along the way making structural changes that fit the final cultural goal;
  7. Lead by example and as in Field of Dreams, "they will come(follow)";
  8. Bring in new people and do not trust loyalty too much;
  9. Make sure each manager/group/executive team member surrounds himself or herself with strong supporters;
  10. Encourage people to think and act differently about their job, customer, and each other that builds on the culture you are creating;
  11. and finally make sure that you train people, re-orient the organization. 
I hope this helps for those of you that have to change and lead cultural change in your organization. If you follow these guidelines your success rate will increase dramatically in changing the culture. 


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