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Organisation culture change short paper

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Embedding & anchoring change
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Organisation culture change short paper

  1. 1. Organisation Culture Change and Business Imperatives Some Design and Diagnostic Proposals December 2012 emerge creators of Responsibility Based Leadership™ contact creena.oconnor@EmergeEducation.com Office + 353 1 67 66 600 Fax: +353 1 67 66 606 (C) The rights of Emerge to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by Emerge in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
  2. 2. LEADING CULTURE CHANGE There are well tracked logistics for bringing about culture change and these methods work If the business and social rationale is also present. To create the business and social rationale three things need to be addressed: Setting The Business Imperative Creating the Social Realpolitik Evidencing the Behavioural Shift Setting the Business Imperative There is no thrust to behaviour change if there is no perceived desirable outcome. Evidence shows that change driven by values alone does not bring about renewed cultures (though it can spawn bureaucracies to service the desired value shift). Value driven change can bring about short term change but the system return to its original behaviour if the outputs are not reinforcing the new behaviour. Therefore The first questions are: 1. If we require different business results what behaviours do we have to change to get them? 2. If our strategies need adjusting what behaviours must we adopt to make such adjustment? Creating the Social Realpolitik realpolitik: politics based on practical and material factors rather than on theoretical or ethical objectives (Merriam-Webster) Culture change for improved business performance can not be achieved without an alignment of the interest of social groupings in the organisation. This does not necessarily mean that the change has to be driven from the top (we have facilitated successful change driven from the middle) but it does mean that the sponsors of change have to define the social groupings and understand their interests. Short Term Change ... can be driven from the top Medium Term Change ... must have engagement/sponsorship of key social influence agents Long Term Change ... must involve the whole culture therefore The second questions are 3. What social groupings or power systems must be influenced to bring about change in behaviour and therefore culture? 4. What is the time frame in which we operate by necessity? Evidencing the Behavioural Shift Culture is what is evident by behaviour: not what is described as desirable. For example most organisations say a culture of leadership by coaching is desirable but few have any measure of what this means in practice or how such a culture would be evident in the behaviour of its managers. Almost none rate such behaviour and give feedback on it. [If organisations were to do these things there would be as many questions raised about the appropriateness of the behaviour as would be answered by the seeming desirability of such behaviour. It would become clear that a coaching style of leadership is sometimes desirable and sometimes other behaviours are appropriate and necessary many of which © emerge and Emerge Education Ltd Page 2 of 6
  3. 3. are the antithesis of coaching. It would also become clear that the model of coaching widely embraced in contemporary organisation is less than adequate in behavioural terms for the needs of business: indeed the model often subscribed to is a model more suited to social work than managerial leadership.] So The third questions are: 5. What behaviours would be more likely to yield us the results that we want in our business? 6. What does this tell us about the culture that is imperative? Warning: these will not be a long list of competencies as often depicted in managerial capability charts. There will be a few key behavioural indicators that drive the culture. For example you can’t have diversity and uniformity as aspirations in the same culture though many organisations seek to do precisely this. You either value diversity or you value uniformity so choose and live with the difficult matter of trying to implement a management system that optimises that choice. HOW? Revolution and Evolution Conservative leaders like evolution: it’s more comfortable and allows for mistakes to be rectified. Radical leaders like revolution: it gets to results faster and results reinforce the desired goals. Rarely in business will evolution change culture and behaviour enough to make a difference. (Here business is different from politics where national level evolution can bring about dramatic change over time – business is always on a shorter time performance demand). Therefore the business leader of change has to think in radical terms mostly. Radical thinking requires mental and sometimes behavioural ruthlessness: many leaders will avoid this because it firstly requires that they themselves change. So the question here is 7. Do we have the ruthlessness to create a revolution and the wisdom to allow that revolution to flourish once initiated? Putting the seven questions together we have to address: 1. What behaviours would be more likely to yield us the results that we want in our business? 2. If we require different results what behaviours do we have to change to get them? 3. If our strategies need adjusting what behaviours must we adopt to make such adjustment? 4. What does this tell us about the culture that is imperative? 5. What social groupings or power systems must be influenced to bring about change in behaviour and therefore culture? 6. What is the time frame in which we operate by necessity? 7. Do we have the ruthlessness to create a revolution and the wisdom to allow that revolution to flourish once initiated? © emerge and Emerge Education Ltd Page 3 of 6
  4. 4. To Achieve Culture Change Define and Drive 5 Culture Change Imperatives Imperative 1: Getting Top Leaders to Behave in the Manner of the Desired Culture Most organisations have significant dependency cultures. Therefore people imitate what they see senior leaders do (not what they say). To get top leaders behaving differently: Define Behaviours, Agree How they/where they are manifest; Define the attitude/behaviour implications; Put new behaviours into performance objectives. [Do not go ‘politically correct’ in this process!] Imperative 2: Ensure Focused Business Goals are at the heart of the change. Most organisations have too many goals and ‘priorities’. These compete with each other and none gets accomplished adequately. Leadership must re-define for focused goals and fewer priorities (while getting rid of the list of ‘103 tasks to achieve this quarter’ stuff). Make the link for people so that the imperative for behaviour change is the same as the drive to achieve a business outcome. Imperative 3: Design Change Processes to take account of the Socio-Technical-Economic System of the business and its Environment. Most change programmes fail because they do not have a method for changing the social system and account only for Technical and Economic systems change. Political and People systems serve to distort the change and the effort becomes unstable. (See Three Parallel Process below) Imperative 4: Use Groups/Teams as the repository of the new culture and encourage them to be autonomous in fostering the change. Culture change is not an individual thing: it is locked into the norms of groups and teams in the business. For this reason the buy-in has to be in, by and through teams. Use these teams to become keepers of the new. Imperative 5: Use involvement and participation at every opportunity. Research demonstrates that involvement works. If you trust the people you are more likely to achieve success. © emerge and Emerge Education Ltd Page 4 of 6
  5. 5. TYPICAL PROCESSES Driver Group: Somebody needs to own the drive for change. Form a small group that will consistently and persistently focus on a challenge the progress to change. This is not a formal management committee: it is more of an adaptive ‘skunk-work’ group. It may or may not be formally ‘authorised’ to bring about change, but it needs to have the self efficacy that it can and will bring such change regardless of who is formally for or against. [For Real Results: The Driver Group needs to be given sufficient autonomy to get on with processing the change. It also needs sufficiently high level access to leverage the political process in the organisation. It should not be peopled by ‘organisation man’: the person who normally gravitates to corporate ‘good deeds’ departments/functions. It should have insightful, courageous people of at least three different levels of the business and it should not be more than five people. The people should be already very busy so they don’t have time to form a bureaucracy.] Focus and Go: Ideally get the top level group to agree the business imperatives and the tight focus necessary. Also get this level to agree to change its own behaviour. This will almost always need outside facilitation by someone who is tough enough to challenge the leaders and is entrepreneurial enough to understand the business opportunities. Train the Critical Mass Group in Behaviour and Goal Focus: The Critical Mass Group is the smallest group that must demonstrate change to cause a chain reaction in the rest of the organisation. For example this might be the top 200 managers in a typical mid-size company. Define the Processes and Systems that Need to be Changed If the culture is to change in line with a business imperative it is unlikely that the processes and systems currently in place will remain unchanged. Define focused work groups/streams with clear delivery terms of reference and short time lines for delivery. If the project is big break it into sub sets and don’t be afraid to reform teams at different staging posts in the delivery of the result. Time is of the Essence Culture change requires significant focus and challenge. Organisations develop cultures over time with which they are comfortable, no matter how dysfunctional these cultures are in terms of achieving objectives. Culture change is therefore uncomfortable and disorientating. Because of this there are considerable pressures to return to the known, secure comfort of the expected. Essentially culture change is therefore a radical matter and because of this a long stretch to achieve the change allows the system to seek and replant the original comfort. Change planners must achieve a sense of urgency and plan a period of agitation and discomfort to ensure that a new reality is installed. Retaining Identity Pillars It is easier to change culture when organisations/teams are able to cherish the existing good. Change planners must be careful to define what the positives about the current culture are and to foster these within the new. In this way the team/organisation is able to reinforce its identity positively while it embraces a new way of behaving. Three Parallel Processes Design Your change will need to be planned and monitored in three systems or processes. Your driver group will need the template to ensure that all systems are being addressed. The processes together provide the orchestration to deliver an integrated result. Change success depends on the progress of each of these systems being delivered. © emerge and Emerge Education Ltd Page 5 of 6
  6. 6. THREE PARALLEL PROCESSES FOR CHANGE DESIGN Driver Processes Goals and Systems Training and Culture Processes Processes Set Business Imperatives Simplify Goals Define Culture which will deliver the business Imperatives Set Change in Place Simplify & Align Strategies to Goal Convene workshop to change attitude and get behaviour Establish Governance Group Align Performance adoption Management to Goals and Strategies Train people in the desired Design Change Processes in way of working line with Economic- Socio- Technical-Systems realities Align Reward Systems to Contract personal and team desired outputs behavioural change Define tracker and feedback processes Provide feedback mechanisms Proclaim Successes en route Celebrate wins - who owns the problem - which systems act as enablers - what specific behaviour - who understands the - which need change changes desired opportunity - what streams of work are - what culture and way of - top down or middle out implied working essential development - who will own and champion - how to create ‘buzz’ - big launch or ‘crush’ process the streams of work - how to build on strengths of - time frame and radical need - how to ensure that systems past/ challenges of future - who are the significant are not pulling against each - how to reinforce desired opinion formers and how will other behaviour they be influenced - how to release innovation - how to allow for variation - how to ensure entrenched and personal innovation self interest doesn’t confound change - how to provide self reinforcing feedback loops ... [the Roman Army does] not sit with folded hands in peace time ... they never have a truce from training, never wait for emergencies ... their peace manoeuvres are no less strenuous than ... warfare ... [throwing all] energy into ... drill, as though ... in action. Hence that perfect ease with which they sustain the shock of battle: no confusion breaks... formation, no panic paralyzes, no fatigue exhausts ... victory is the invariable consequence ... [one can] describe their manoeuvres as bloodless combats and combats as sanguinary manoeuvres Josephus: Jewish chronicler of Roman History © emerge and Emerge Education Ltd Page 6 of 6

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