I wholeheartedly agree with my consulting mentor Alan Weiss with how he defines culture – “It is that set of beliefs that governs behavior”.
Culture seems like such a mysterious topic and executives spend millions to try to create culture change and the like. Yet when you boil it down to the basics, it is really quite simple. What set of beliefs does your company run by? Where did they come from? Are they helping or hurting you?
When you look at culture with this viewpoint, it becomes easy to determine how to change your corporate culture; however, the devil is in the execution. For example, one of the companies I worked with merged with another. The strategy was “perfect” – great synergies and opportunities to leverage strengths. The vision was communicated effectively but fell apart in execution. As I’ve heard Alan say about one of his clients, “Bill, do you believe what you read on the walls or what you hear in the halls?” In this case, the set of beliefs and values that govern the day-to-day behavior were not modified. Thus, the fabulous strategy could not occur as the former company philosophy prevailed.
Stay tuned for articles about how to change culture; however, to give you a few tips to stew on in the interim: 1) Communicate consistently, frequently and with different media. 2) Align communications with actions. 3) Find exemplars to lead the culture change. Much of my consulting practice’s success is based upon these principles for the simple reason is that RESULTS FOLLOW. And you have a happier work environment to boot.
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