I wrote about the four reasons culture-shaping efforts fail in my previous post (Organizational culture has reached a tipping point, yet many culture change initiatives fail for four key reasons). But what makes them succeed? What makes some culture-change efforts successful where others become simply another ‘flavor of the week’ training session that never translates into real change? This is a subject of great debate and many theories exist.
As we looked for the common denominator of success in the hundreds of culture-shaping efforts we have led at Senn Delaney, the level of CEO ownership and personal engagement won hands down as a key success factor.
Leaders often struggle with managing approaches to improve engagement and ownership as part of a process that directly impacts results. Company meetings, one-off engagement activities, and other approaches might work but there is a technique you should build into the fabric of your organization. It’s a relatively simple but powerful process that supports improved engagement, ownership, accountability, and results but some discipline and consistency are required.
To build a strong team there has to be a high level of trust. Trust is the glue that holds people together and the lubricant that allows energy and passion to flow. Trust builds internal cohesion. The ability to display and engender trust corresponds to the fifth level of personal consciousness. Trust increases the speed at which the group is able to accomplish tasks and takes the bureaucracy out of communication. The principal components of trust are character and competence.
Conversations are going to happen
At the time you announce the new strategy, reorganization, acquisition, or any significant change into your organization the conversations are likely already underway everywhere in your organization. It is human nature, and brain science has verified, we want to eliminate uncertainty in our lives; therefore, we talk to each other about what is happening around us.
CEO’s continue to publicly proclaim their efforts to manage significant and meaningful culture change. Some miss the mark and show their lack of understanding this critical topic. Others, like Satya Nadella of Microsoft, share a much clearer vision and appear like they truly “get it.” What separates the visionary and capable culture champions from the vast majority of leaders that don’t understand the culture fundamentals?