Can Corporate Culture be Changed?
Organizations seek out my assistance in helping them make their organizations better. “Better” might mean more effective leadership, higher performance, improved employee retention, effective compensation plans, improving team performance or simply creating a more cooperative, positive work environment.
After a thorough assessment of a client’s current operation and needs assessment, I am in a better position to present solutions that will address their gaps. Some of those solutions involve policy changes, process changes, some involve personal coaching, and some involve proactive culture refinement — culture change.
When considering culture change, many senior leaders believe that corporate culture cannot be changed. I’m not surprised at this belief. In my experience most senior leaders, throughout their entire careers have not lived through successful culture change. Even fewer have led successful culture change.
But here’s the question: Can you change how an organization performs? Absolutely! By changing how individuals perform, leaders can change how the organization performs.
Leaders can change the way individuals perform by:
- Setting clear performance goals.
- Directing, supporting, coaching and delegating where needed.
- Measuring progress and accomplishment.
- Celebrating progress and accomplishment.
These activities, done consistently with a service approach often lead to increased employee performance which almost always affects service quality and commitment which leads to happier customers and growing profits. This is the service profit chain at work.
Changing your organization’s culture is no different from changing how your organization performs. It requires intentional definition of, communication of and accountability for your company’s:
- Purpose: The reason you are in business.
- Deliverables: Your committment to high-quality products and services.
- Culture: Values you stand for and live by daily with stakeholders, peers and customers.
Corporate culture is the most important driver of what happens in organizations, and senior leaders are the most important driver of their organization’s corporate culture.
To change an organization’s culture, leaders must change how they spend their time and what they communicate and reinforce on a daily basis. They have to change what they pay attention to. Their focus shifts from great performance to great performance WITH great citizenship.