There are several approaches to changing cultural norms in an organization, however, the actual transformation comes from its people doing something unique, adopting new behaviors, changing the way they solve problems, and the way they communicate and interact with each other.
To change something, we must understand the way it’s created, formed and influenced. Here are three powerful drivers of culture: behaviors, techniques, and symbols.
HR has always appeared to be the natural home for the mechanics of leading culture change. In recent years, however, I’ve observed another human resource in the executive team. A person whose influence over culture is potentially the most powerful of all: The Chief Financial Officer.
Do you fully understand your culture and how it’s impacting performance? Are you managing a clear journey to effectively evolve your culture with a direct and sustainable impact on performance? There aren’t many leaders that can confidently answer “yes” to these two questions. We see culture tips and advice at every turn that range from superficial to endlessly complicated. If you are like me, it’s hard to understand what to believe.
Focusing on a “critical few” behaviors is one of the fundamental tenets of working effectively with organizational culture. These are patterns of acting that are actionable, highly visible, and measurable. Most important, adopting these behaviors has a meaningful impact on an organization’s strategic and operational objectives. The behaviors are critical because they will have a significant impact on business performance when exhibited by large numbers of people; they are few because people can really only remember and change three to five key behaviors at one time.
What critical success factors do you monitor closely in your business?
Most leaders I speak with tell me they primarily watch performance metrics—widgets out the door, services sold, installations, market share, profitability, and the like. Customer service rankings come in a distant second.