Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Implementing an Engaged Culture

Culture changes in an organization are never easy or quick. A company culture is the personality of the company, and just like with a human personality, deciding to change it is one thing but actually changing a personality is something entirely different. For example, every year we make New Year’s resolutions about things we are going to change. But the reality is that most resolutions quickly fall away because, while the desire to change might be strong, changing ingrained habits is a long and painful process.

Experts in the process of change will tell you that the probability of successful change can be enhanced with the proper level of support. For example, if your desire to change involves losing weight, you are encouraged to sign up for a program, start an exercise program with a friend, and even tell your spouse, family, and friends about your desire to lose weight. If they know about your weight loss goals, they can help you stay away from food that is bad for you and even help you steer clear of situations where bad food may be prevalent. This is especially true if your desire to lose weight will have a direct impact on the food that they might end up eating.

Having support for change is a critical factor in moving yourself in a new direction and is often the difference between success and failure.

The same is true when deciding to change the culture of your organization. Once you have decided that you want to make a specific change, the next thing you need to do is begin to line up support for that change. And, just like you might sign up for a well-proven diet program, your culture change should also be supported by experts – experts who understand the complexities and pitfalls of a culture change and can provide you with valuable guidance. Trying to change your culture without the assistance of an expert is like trying to do brain surgery … on yourself.

And, much like you want to inform your friends and family about your change in eating habits so that you can gain their support and let them know about the possible impact on them, you will also want to inform your employees of the desire to change the culture. After all, changing the culture of the organization will have a very direct impact on them and you will need their support and involvement to ensure your success.

For many leaders, the question of communicating desired changes to the employees represents a significant challenge. Too often, leaders fail to appreciate the level of understanding that the employees have about the current culture, or they believe they can implement culture changes through simple process or reward adjustments. Unfortunately, when employees don’t understand the culture shift being pursued, they will try and meld any new process or reward changes into the existing culture. Obviously, this can have a significant negative impact on any desired culture changes when processes intended for one culture end up being implemented in another.

For culture to truly change it must be planned from above but implemented at the lowest levels of the organization. By making the employees your partner in your cultural shift you can more readily communicate not only the “how” of the shift but also the “why”. And, if the transition is to a more employee centric culture, your employees will be delighted to assist you.

At ECI Learning Systems LLC, we are dedicated to helping companies get the greatest return from their most valuable asset: their employees. We work with you to align 3 key organizational factors:
• Your Company Culture
• The Leadership Styles of your key managers
• The Expectations of your Employees

When these 3 factors are aligned, you create an energy in your company that improves productivity, reduces absenteeism, increases creativity, and positively impacts your bottom line. Contact ECI Learning Systems LLC today to get your free Workplace Evaluation.

Until next time.....

Dave Meyer
ECI Learning Systems, LLC

1 comment:

  1. The other piece of this Dave is frequent, consistent and articulate communication of the change. Too often managers communicate the change and think it is done.

    Thanks for the insight