Changing Workplace Culture

Here are the first two, essential steps in changing workplace culture from low to high performance.

People drive the performance of your business and the culture of your business drives the performance of your people.

To attempt changing workplace culture without considering the organizational design, is to commit yourself to much activity, but achieving little real progress. Which is why you need to read both this, changing workplace article, and the organization redesign article.

The Steps To Successfully Changing Workplace Culture

changing workplace culture Make sure you use a great consultant to help you on your journey through each of the steps to changing workplace culture.

Before Starting the Process of Changing Workplace Culture You Must Establish A Solid Business Case

Redesigning your organization to change the culture can be a timely and costly process (in fact it can take up to 2 years to re-design a business and 15 years of implementation!). The readiness of your business to begin a re-design process is determined by two factors:

  1. The urgency for change to take place
  2. The readiness of the organization to accept widespread change

There must be a strong business case to drive the momentum, dedication, time and effort it takes when changing workplace culture to high performance. The business case will come from either the business under-performing or wishing to excel beyond its current performance. Ensure that the numbers stack up and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt to your senior leadership that their whole-hearted support (emotional and financial) is well justified.

In fact once a strong business case is established it is much easier to entice the senior leadership to become the champions for change. Without their full and unswerving support your success at changing workplace culture is severely threatened.

Ideally you should only begin changing workplace culture once you have acceptance and ownership of the need to change by everyone who is to be impacted by it and most critically you have strong and real commitment from your most senior leadership.

Educate and Energize

You have probably heard comments at work about the "latest flavor of the month".

This cynicism is bred when new and seemingly unrelated change programs are put in place by a leadership team who either doesn't fully understand or communicate the reasons behind their shift in priorities and change strategies.

his is why the culture change initiative needs to be launched by the most senior person in the organization, and the team who will do the actual design, and the people who will implement the new culture, all require training and to be kept abreast of the new direction the organization is moving in. Don't do it, and you doom your workplace culture change process to failure!

Wide-spread involvement is a critical step in changing workplace culture, and unfortunately many organizations don't do it, or do it poorly. Education of every single member within the organization on the need for cultural change, the 'how' you are going to go about changing the workplace culture and the benefits to be gained by changing workplace culture must be done: over and over and over.

To energize people, the education needs to step far beyond the mere logic of, "this is why we need to change and this is how we need to change". The education needs to engage people's hearts. It needs to begin to influence people's values, mindsets, and beliefs, and ultimately enable them to change their behaviors.

Many organizations shy away from this 'warm and fuzzy' stuff. However, leaders in high performance organizations' realize that 'this stuff' is the framework upon which greatness is built.

It is key, that the leadership teams are very much included throughout the entire process, to ensure their buy-in, which is all important, because of the influence they bring to bear on the entire organization. Many organizations' spend a lot of time ensuring front-line buy-in, but overlook the people in the leadership teams ... making the often faulty assumption that these leaders are on board.

If a leader is unable to support the change, then s/he should be willing to leave of his/her own accord.

Pitfalls That May Cause Failure

Watch out for these pitfalls that could cause your change process to fail:

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