I often wonder how many organizations truly put the effort into understanding how culture is fundamental to their business success and how to optimize such to bring their desired culture into the fabric of the organization.
For the sake of common understanding, let’s define culture as:
‘Influencing patterns’ that people consistently and congruently experience over time which emerge as the norms, beliefs, values and practices that guide people in their perspectives, attitudes, decisions and behaviors.’
Is there a difference between mission statements and manifestos? Yes and no. Their intentions may be the same but that’s where the similarity ends. In practice, the outcomes of mission statements and manifestos are miles apart. Though manifestos and missions are crafted to bring people together behind a cause, manifesto’s have a much better track record of igniting action. The best are so emotionally charged that their catalytic influence can endure for centuries. Such was the case for the Ten Commandments, and the Declaration of Independence. As recently as fifty years ago, an emotional speech delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial established a clear and convincing purpose for American Civil Rights. ‘I Have a Dream’ is arguably the most inspiring manifesto of our time.
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!
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.
Haven’t we talked about employee engagement enough? Nope! Because despite the amount of time, energy and effort that organizations around the globe are investing in helping engage people in work, things aren’t improving much. Weekly pizza socials, guest speakers and telecommuting options are certainly appealing. I like pizza as much as the next guy. And, sure, a monetary bonus and summer hours will certainly put a smile on someone’s face. But here’s the issue – none of these things will motivate your people day in and day out.
These tactics don’t drive people’s discretionary efforts, passion or dedication. It takes a completely different approach to drive a culture of engagement in your organization. You just need to follow four steps that I call the Four Roots of Engagement.