Cultural Transformation: What Does It Really Mean?
Every organisation has a culture. It is the sum of all behaviours within the organisation. It's like saying, "here things work this way."
The culture of an organisation is a leadership driven thing; it stems from the top and trickles down to become an accepted norm within the company. For example, a result-driven business owner will create pressure within his or her team to deliver results. This leads to a sense of internal competition, favouritism, divide, and higher stress levels across the organisation, and that becomes the culture, but humans can adapt and live with it for some time.
The question is, do you want that culture? Is it working for you? If not, is it possible to transform the culture into something that delivers results yet does not lead to the sense of favouritism, competition, and higher stress levels?
What is, therefore, a Cultural Transformation?
Cultural Transformation is the application of human psychology and biology to transform human behaviour for a better workplace environment. Many leaders believe that the best way to motivate people is by putting pressure, but it's far from the truth. Our body and mind respond to stimulus differently. When our brain feels threat due to stress, it responds defensively, but when our mind enjoys the force, it works differently, much like people who go to the gym and enjoy the pressure. An organisation that is willing to transform its culture, their leadership team will have to gain an understanding of human psychology as well as the biology of themselves and that of others within the organisation. It is, therefore, a change of heart and adopting a new skill set.
Bob Chapman was recently named the #3 CEO in the world in an Inc Magazine article. Chapman is the Chairman and CEO of St. Louis, MO-based Barry-Wehmiller, a $2.5 Billion global manufacturing business with 11,000 team members. He buys companies in distress and turns them profitable by what he calls "Truly Human Leadership." He renews employee commitment towards the organisation without any promise of bonus or threats. He says that to earn the trust of people, the leaders of an organisation must first treat them like people. Just by changing the environment, he has been transforming businesses. A new culture of caring allowed the people and strategies to flourish.
Why undergo a Cultural Transformation?
The underlying reason for a cultural transformation must be to align the team with the goals or the purpose of the business. Without this impetus, there will not be any motivation to maintain the cultural framework that creates lasting behaviour change. The specific objectives may vary depending on where the organisation is currently and where it wants it to be. The aim could be:
- Delivering excellent customer service
- Improving safety
- Engaging employees
- Fostering leadership excellence
Regardless of what your objectives are, they must be clear from the beginning so that you can use them as a yardstick throughout the process.
Strategic framework for Cultural Transformation
Organisational Culture Transformation is a four-step strategy.
- Defining the purpose: Begin with an assessment of what is missing from the current culture that is hindering the effectiveness of the organisation. Create a core group which defines the overall purpose of the organisation that is beneficial for the growth of the business.
- Revisiting policies and processes: Once the cultural framework is done, draw the connection between the current policies and processes that are not creating favourable results. And how new systems can be designed to get the desired results.
- Internalisation: Authenticity is the key to internalisation of culture; it's not "carrot" or incentive driven management to practise. It must genuinely move people by acting in a manner that matters to people working within the organisation. An organisation must learn the different stages of the employee life cycle. How to create conditions favourable for different stages of an employee, so that they get new direction and assistance from the company to stay productive and committed?
- Leadership Transformation: Our business environment has evolved over the years. However, the perception of the boss has remained the same - someone who orders in a dominated manner. Boss is considered to be someone, whom people are afraid of in the organisation, employee's body language changes in the presence of the boss. How in such an environment, people could thrive? Why can't in the presence of the boss people feel more confident and safe?
About Creative Factor
Founded in 2009, Creative Factor (CF+) is a business communication and consulting firm committed to bring change inside organisations and alter their perceptions outside, by allowing them to thrive in the ocean of possibilities. And we do it with the help of our in-house expertise on business consulting and communication services.