9 Steps To Start Real Culture Change

The Road to Culture Change Starts with You.

Change is hard. 

No one likes change. Especially leaders who know change is needed in order to be more successful.

Change is not just a new set of goals, processes, workflow or behaviors. It’s a turn in culture that starts with reassessing what’s needed to make progress.

Redefining vision, mission, goals, KPIs and behaviors are necessary, but if the mindset and thinking of the organization aren’t addressed, even the best planned strategies will fall short of lasting change.

It can be an overwhelming feeling when you realize change needs to happen. As with everything else, leadership must not only change it’s processes but thinking as well to lead change.

It’s essential to to start the path to real change with a renewed clarity on vision, goals and processes,

but change only starts when the organization as a whole starts to think and see differently.

So here are 9 steps to start the process of real culture change, starting with you as a leader.

First and foremost:

Admit you as a leader need to change the culture.  If your organization is not where it needs to be, take responsibility. Your leadership has allowed certain behaviors to manifest and take root that has led you to where you are currently. Don’t blame, but admit your faults and determine to be accountable for the change going forward.

The Road to Culture Change Starts with You.

Then Others:

Reveal and/or remind the vision. Sometime your people need to be reminded of the vision. You may also find out some where never quite aware of the mission at all (again take ownership for this shortcoming). The key is to talk up the vision so everyone can start calibrating their thinking on what the objective is.

Set the expectation. Let everyone know that they as individuals need to be on board with the vision. There should be essential (non-negotiable) behaviors that align with the culture, and flexible (negotiable) behaviors that allow people to be themselves while still operating with the cultural framework. Set the non-negotiables firmly but encouragingly.

Individually coach. Let your people know that you’ll be their biggest cheerleader and give them what they need to succeed or further grasp the renewed vision. Let them know immediately when they fall short, and show them how to get there. Ignoring behavioral shortcomings will only dilute the progress you’re trying to make, which is most likely why you ended up needing to change culture in the first place.

Hold accountable the cultural behaviors and performance. When an individual won’t engage or align themselves with change, you’ll need to take the necessary steps to correct. If they are still unwilling, then separate; you cannot risk drag factors that hold culture change hostage.

Yourself as a leader:

Be open and admit that you are changing as well. It’s easy to tell others what to do. It’s an entirely different leadership that shows it to your people. Let others know that you’ll be changing the culture within yourself, and that it starts with you. It sets them off of the defensive and sets you up to be the standard bearer for change.

Have others keep you just as accountable. The next necessary step after admitting you are changing as well is to allow others – everyone – from all around the organization to keep you accountable to stay the course and manifest the change within and without. When people know that there is mutual standard and they are allowed to hold everyone on the team to it, there will be more openness to allow change to occur. This prevents leaders from making the change all about others and only partially committing to it themselves.

Daily preach culture behaviors and the larger vision. Unless you are willing to start over with an entirely new team, you need to dilute and over time replace the old culture. This can only occur by focusing on the new mindset not just everyday, but at every interaction throughout the day. Conversations, emails, texts and even external communications are essential means in which to let the new culture grow roots. The more you focus on talking about change, the deeper it grows into everyone’s mind and the DNA of the organization.

Look for willing mindsets to be culture champions. No leader can effect culture change by themselves, so you need to identify those who adopt the new mindset – the renewed vision – and allow them to positively infect the organization. Leverage their enthusiasm and the shared vision to stimulate faster, more committed change and engagement.

Once these underlying steps are in place, then the culture, goals and strategies you’ve identified can start to take hold.

When a group of people have a common vision and commitment to make change happen, the results speak for themselves. Many books on business and history will attest to the incredible changes made when a group of people had the same vision and mindset to effect progress and make their company, their country, or their communities better.

Leadership is about shaping mindsets that change behaviors that eventually transform a culture.

 

(image: pixabay/canva)

#ThursdayThought – Don’t Discount Incremental Growth

Each Small Step Leads To Success

Stretch Goals.

“Swing for the Fences.”

BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals).

These phrases are great ways to help gain a mindset of the bigger picture, the far horizon which is the ultimate goal.

Yet they can convey the thinking that you have to “go big or go home” in every action and transaction in order to succeed in those lofty goals.

We need to remember that sometime the road to success comes from those smaller, incremental actions and wins that steer us ever closer to our definitive goals.

Just like a snail slowly glides across the pavement, seemingly not moving, our daily actions – as long as they align with our vision – may not seem to get us anywhere fast. But eventually we’ll end up there. We look back on the snail and it’s suddenly gone to it’s destination, in the same way we will soon look back and find that we’re so much closer to our goal, if not already there.

Big actions are great, but it’s each small step that give us lasting satisfaction and keep us on track to the vast horizon.

Nobody gets a millions dollars in their bank account in one transaction. It is usually a buildup of saving here and there over time.

Inch by inch. Step by step. Failure then victory. Frustration before achievement.

Each Small Step Leads To Success 

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither was Amazon, Samsung or Daimler.

Don’t discount the smaller steps. Savor the incremental growth, and those small wins to the path of victory.

(image: pixabay/canva)

Great Success Comes By Creating Value

purchase-3347053_1280

The oft-quoted (and also mis-quoted) proverb “You can’t save your way to prosperity” has a much more pertinent meaning for business.

Many companies, small business as well as large corporations, have struggled when they focus so much on the bottom line that they forget how to move forward and drive top-line revenues.

A Forbes article last month detailed how an entrepreneur’s previous startup consumed him because of the fear of financial losses. Worried too much about pinching pennies consumed him even though the company had millions in revenue.

He discovered that focusing solely on the bottom line was no way to run a business, let alone give himself any peace or lasting satisfaction. Once he discovered what he was doing wrong, he stepped back and formulated his next start up with a focus on driving revenue and creating value.

I often say that the problem with most floundering businesses is that they changed their game plan and started playing defense penny-wise when they should be more on the offense in building value for their customers. Simply stated, by having a vision towards building loyal customers and a complete value in everything you do will help get a company moving forward and not restrained by decisions on what to spend or not spend.

Penny pinching and bottom line focus shortens an organization’s vision and take the eyes off of most everything else, particularly your company values and mission statement. Granted, profitability should be a goal; however, having the right internal systems should ensure profitability flows down through from the top line revenues.

And yet, sales is not the be-all-and-end-all. Many companies are great at getting the sale or driving revenue, but create little lasting value that builds trust or commitment form their customers.

Creating value comes not only between your customers and your organization, but also a holistic synergy within your company that transcends the inner workings and augments that trust and commitment from your customers.

When a customer sees that your company will follow through to make things right for them, or that your team works in alignment with your core values which in turn prove your organization is what it says it is, you create a value that enhances the transaction-based part of the relationship.  This creates more intrinsic value beyond what you bring to your customers, a value that you can never build focusing on the bottom line and pinching pennies en route to success.

Running a business with the majority of your focus on the bottom line is “penny-wise and pound foolish”. The best success comes by creating not just sales, but value beyond the transaction. Spend your efforts on value.

(image: pixabay)

 

 

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