By now, many leaders are well aware of the fact that their organization’s culture has a significant impact on the processes that take place within the organization and on the performances of their employees and team members. If the current culture is not working as expected, then you can, as a leader, change it.
Change is never easy and changing the culture in an organization could seem like an impossible task. However, when the whole team (company) comes together, they can accomplish great things.
Still, do have in mind that this is going to be a tough challenge. It takes years for a culture to form appropriately, so changing it will be a continuous effort from your side. However, if you know that you’ll reap more significant benefits from a different kind of culture and that it will help your business grow, mainly by attracting in new talents, then it is worth the effort.
Why do people consider a change of culture? Considering that an organization’s culture is usually shaped by the elements that make people comfortable and by the visions of the organization’s manager or leader, it takes a significant event to turn everything upside down.
The culture of an organization can be changed when the organization is not performing as it should, losing a significant number of sales, resources or customers, when there is the threat of failure and bankruptcy or when a new leader takes hold of the organization’s management. An organization’s culture doesn’t have to be completely wrong or dysfunctional to be changed. If you notice that the organization is not managing to reach its goal and develop to its potential, then maybe some changes are needed.
Although a change may improve things, it is never a natural process, and people may be reluctant to collaborate because not everybody digests changes that easily. Just think about the fact that changes in our personal lives are pretty challenging, yet alone modifications that must take place within a company. Still, it is possible to change a culture with the right tools, understanding, dedication, time, and a good dose of commitment to this process.
So, let us take a look at the steps you need to cover to make this happen.
Do not start making changes before you fully understand the current culture of the organization.
It is almost impossible to make any changes if you don’t understand the current status of the organization’s culture. You need to see what works and what doesn’t, how people are performing in the present environment, and what kind of changes would be welcome. Only when you have a clear view of how things are in your organization will you be able to see how the culture can be changed so that it can bring benefits both to the organization and the people that are part of it.
Determine and define the desired direction of the organization.
How’s the future of the organization looking? What’s the direction it should take to become the organization everybody dreams about? If you want to change the culture, you need to make sure that the one that will be adopted will support the organization’s success in every way possible. For this, it is crucial to determine the correct direction for your organization so that the decisions you will make will place it on the right path.
Most certainly the organization has a vision for the future; this vision fuels its present activity and serves as motivation. If this vision is crystal clear, then the culture that is going to be implemented within the organization must pave the road of the company toward reaching this vision.
Everybody in the organization must be part of the change.
You cannot make a change happen on your own, so you need to talk to everybody about it.
You need to explain why this change is a benefit for the entire organization and why it is essential for every person to participate by changing their behavior.
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Do be aware that this is one of the most challenging steps to achieve. It is not easy to change one’s behavior, not even when a person wishes to do so. It takes time and constant awareness on the part of each person, so it is going to be a lengthy process, but it is an achievable one at the same time. For this, everybody must understand what is expected from them and what the desired direction for the entire organization is.
Of course, you cannot proceed to change the culture without making a plan first. It would help if you tried to cover all the aspects connected to this change while making sure that all the people within the organization know the plan as well so that they will act accordingly. To make the plan and adequate changes, you need to see the vision, mission, and values of your company or organization.
You need these aspects so that you can design a future picture of the company, envisioning where it will be a few years from now. This part is essential in changing the culture into the right one. Just make sure to take into account both the value-based and strategic components when defining the vision, mission, and values your organization accepts.
You also need to ask yourself about the things that should happen to create the
desired culture. Thus, you need to know what changes would be good for the organization at this point and where it wants to be in the future. At the same time, do check to see which kind of cultural elements can support the creation of a better culture at the workplace and which ones are not that helpful, so you will know what to adjust.
And if you are a company leader, you should assign several other team leaders the job of promoting and supporting the change of culture. In other words, you should serve as examples for the others, while offering guidance and a helping hand for all the others within the organization.
Keep in mind that this is not something that takes place by itself as the organization will need to be led in the right direction and you do need the help of team members as you won’t be present everywhere at all times.
Change is never easy but always possible.