A popular post I wrote for TLNT.com last year on organizational culture change is still on the first page of google search results for that topic.
I approached a training video company with course content based on that post and they felt culture is a topic best suited for top leaders. They explained that training video sales are higher if the content fits first line managers and individual contributors.
I explained the culture fundamentals that apply to top leaders also apply to work teams of any size since they are sub-cultures with behavior that’s also driven by cultural rules.
From that insight, the culture content was simplified and the WE WIN framework was born!
A Sweet Spot exists at the intersection of three areas of context for any business transformation (Change). It is critical for leaders to get context clarity on these areas to make the difference between a resounding successful change and a crashing failure.
The Sweet Spot:
- Leadership Context – What are the leader’s skills, strengths and experiences in leading change? What is the leader’s commitment to the change?
- Organizational Strategy (Change) Context – What must change? Why is change needed? As a result of the change, what does success look like?
- Organizational Culture Context – What are the underlying beliefs and behaviors that shape the performance and potential of the organization?
Sweet Spot = the winning formula for leading change
Think of the last time you bought a product you were very excited about. Maybe it was the iPhone 6 with its sleeker look, improved features and screen size that forces you to buy pants with bigger pockets. Maybe it was the Lululemon yoga pants that are comfortable and stylish at the same time. Or maybe it was the new driver that you think will help your golf game and knock a couple of strokes of your handicap. What did you feel when you bought those items? Probably a sense of excitement, a sense of anticipation and maybe even a sense of pride and emotional attachment
Now, let me ask you how you felt that last time you were exposed to the strategy of your organization. Did it feel similar to some of the emotions triggered above? Or did it feel more like that class in college with the really boring professor … where you tried to retain just enough information to pass the test or sound intelligent if called upon? If it is the latter, you are unfortunately not alone. Engaging employees in strategies is simple not done well in many companies. Yet these same companies are often great at launching new products or services to their customers.
A lot can be gleaned by how we launch products and services effectively and applying it to how we launch and implement our strategies. I believe it is one of the most cost effective ways to improve organizational performance available to companies today.
Mergers and Acquisitions have now been cited by Goldman Sachs as the primary global growth strategy for large-cap companies. The last twelve months have seen the return of the strategic inquirer, with blue chip companies driving deal frequency and volumes not seen since 2007 and 2008. Yet, almost religiously, study after study shows that mergers and acquisitions fail at rate of 70% to 90%, leaving massive intellectual, creative and financial currency on the table.
The number one reason for M & A failure? Culture clash.
And a decades long flawed strategy titled “integration.”
Here’s the unspoken truth accompanied by the predictable chain of events.
An M&A is an arranged marriage.
- There is no love at the beginning.
- The issues start Day One.
- Executives announce the once hush-hushed M&A information.
- Employees feign excitement as FEAR ripples through both companies.
- The C suite announces: “This will be great for everyone!”
- No one is buying that promise.
A culture of SURVIVAL thinking and behaviors is now in play.
To quiet the fear, a WILDLY FLAWED STRATEGY called INTEGRATION is announced.
In a survey of top leaders by Booz and Company last year 84% said culture was critical to success and yet the majority admitted their culture was in need of a major overhaul. So, how do you transform a culture to meet your company’s needs today? How can you get employees or teams to behave the way you need them to execute your strategies and enhance your performance as well as your employee engagement and the customer experience? How do you get the innovation and agility you need in fast-changing markets? How do you get the cross-organizational collaboration that makes one plus one equal three?
You can do that only by improving the behaviors of people. That’s because culture is nothing more than the collective beliefs and habits of the people in an organization. So in the end, you can only transform cultures by facilitating personal transformation in people.