When your organisation has defined strategies that represent a change from the past, it is a good time to focus on culture. If your organisation is aspiring to a business goal, it’s time to include culture planning as a part of your business planning.
Studies show that in 50-70% of cases where mergers dilute value, the cause is a failure to successfully manage the cultural dimension. Walking the Talk provides support for defining the culture strategy and building a culture plan. Leading in a Merger training will help those involved in planning the integration process, so that value can be accelerated as quickly as possible.
Some organisations already consider their culture to be tightly aligned to their brand and a source of competitive advantage. Yours may be one of these. Both customers and employees love the culture and are loyal to the company as a result. If the founders are still active, the culture will be strongly driven by the style and values of those individuals.
As you grow, people are hired with skill sets associated with managing a larger organisation. Sometimes, you hire critical skills from competitors whose cultures employees may not respect. A challenge arises:
How do you preserve the culture during rapid growth with the influence of many new leaders and increasing geographic dispersion?
The Walking the Talk Culture Transformation System makes conscious what has previously been instinctive and unconscious, so that the team can actively plan for its future and ensure that value is not diluted as the company grows.
If your organisation already has a culture process underway, the new leader will want to put his or her own stamp on it. A new leader should consider the momentum of the process, and its success to date. There are risks to giving the impression that things are starting over, unless the process is stalled and deemed totally ineffective. It is usually more powerful to build upon what has begun, in order to avoid cynicism.
The Walking the Talk Culture Transformation System helps you consider these issues and engage others in the process.
In planning for the arrival of a new leader, the Walking the Talk Culture Transformation System helps those supporting the transition to assess the cultural implications of this change.
The Walking the Talk Culture Transformation System also helps the new leader accelerate the culture that he or she wants. Here are some of the common implications we’ve come across in our work with organisations:
- The leader is the culture. The retiring leader has built a culture that is at the core of the organisation’s success.
- A leader is asked to leave. The retiring leader has been asked to leave, and/or his/her management style has built a culture of fear, avoidance, over-competitiveness or other value diluters.
- Leaving with change in progress. The retiring leader has led a culture change process that is underway, but there’s a risk that people will feel ‘this too will pass’ when the new leader arrives.
The senior team casts a long shadow. They set the culture by their behaviour, decisions and priorities. If you have defined performance outcomes that depend on certain behaviours for their achievement, the senior team must ‘walk the talk’ and align their behaviours, values, and beliefs to the culture they require, in order to implement their business strategy.
Our methodology defines the benefits that culture can deliver, so that senior team members can convince themselves of the return on investment. They learn the roles that they will need to play, personally, in order to achieve the target culture. Changing personal behaviour is always difficult, especially for those whose careers have rewarded them for being the way they are. The culture journey offers a challenging opportunity for senior leaders to grow personally and expand their range of leadership capability. Coaching and programmes to help them achieve this goal are advisable throughout a change process.
When an incident hits the press, it’s rarely an isolated incident, but rather a spike in a pattern of behaviour that exists within the culture. Sexual harassment, failure to meet promises to customers, employee fatalities, and unethical behaviour are examples. If these are occurring in your business, you are sitting on a cultural time bomb, which could explode and cause severe damage.
Our approach can help you move from defining values and standards, to building a culture where they are truly lived. You need assurance that the behaviours which are being encouraged or condoned in your organisation are the ones that will make you proud. You need a process of culture management that will deliver that confidence to you.