360° Coverage : Three Critical Elements In Driving Culture Change, And Four Ways...

2 Updates

Three Critical Elements In Driving Culture Change, And Four Ways To Tell If You Are Making Progress

Feb 26 2014, 7:25pm CST | by

Businesses of all kinds seem wedded to the idea that the problems confronting them are so overwhelming and complex that the only solution is a fundamental shift in how they do things. As a result,...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

29 weeks ago

Three Critical Elements In Driving Culture Change, And Four Ways To Tell If You Are Making Progress

Feb 26 2014, 7:25pm CST | by

Businesses of all kinds seem wedded to the idea that the problems confronting them are so overwhelming and complex that the only solution is a fundamental shift in how they do things. As a result, they create initiatives that are so ambitious that you wonder if it would not be easier for the organization concerned to pack up and start again. Indeed, in some cases that is effectively what these “change programs” amount to. Unsurprisingly, then, few work. Change, if it happens at all, is often fleeting.

The reason, according to a team at the consultancy Booz & Company led by Jon Katzenbach, is that not enough leaders recognize that a few key behaviours can have a disproportionate effect on company success. Instead, Katzenbach and his colleagues write in the firm’s Strategy + Business magazine, leaders “find it hard to resist the temptation to pile one directive on top of another; even when those efforts are aligned to the same ultimate goals, they often undermine one another.” In addition, when these initiatives are focused on trying to change the culture they are “almost always too comprehensive, programmatic, esoteric and urgent”. Essentially, leaders fail to realise how deeply ingrained in employees’ beliefs and habits culture can be – and, as a result, how difficult it will be to change behavior in lasting ways.

The Booz team says experience of a range of organizations operating around the world suggests that companies that leave aside all-encompassing culture change initiatives and instead focus on a “critical few” elements are more successful. The three elements are critical behaviors, existing cultural traits and critical informal leaders.

The first group comprises the ways of doing things that can be spread easily from one employee to another. They have the potential to generate real business impact, especially if they become habitual and widespread.  The second refers to the three or four emotional elements in the current culture that together epitomize the organization’s sense of identity. They play a key role in supporting the most important behaviors. The critical informal leaders – the last group – are those few “authentic individuals” who motivate others by what they do and how they do it. They are recognized by colleagues as “credible, trustworthy and effective” and they know how to influence behavior. Accordingly, they are much more effective than “change agents” appointed by senior executives and sent to infiltrate the workforce.

The Booz consultants believe that this approach works better than the top-down messaging and formal programs usually adopted because it takes into account the emotional dimension of human behavior. Noting that how employees feel about something can get in the way of how they think about it, because individuals are simultaneously emotional and rational, they say it is important that organizations answer their employees’ desire for simplicity rather than offer yet more complexity. “When people we trust and admire clearly model and encourage a few key behaviors, those behaviors spread much more quickly, and they stick,” they say.

Like many other business observers, they use the famously quirky Southwest Airlines as an example. But, while describing how the strong culture at the no-frills airline is reinvigorated by teams of volunteers who visit hundreds of employees every year to show their appreciation, they warn that such initiatives will not alone create a strong culture. What is needed is adherence to the “critical few”.

So, how do leaders know when they have focused on the right elements and have them aligned? Katzenbach and his colleagues have four indicators that reveal whether a corporate culture is boosting the business.

1. The culture taps into the waiting reserves of energy within lots of people. If the culture is focused on a certain set of performance outcomes and employees buy into this people start to reinforce each other informally.

2. The culture guides down-the-line decision making. If there is a strong culture, there is no need for formal sign-offs and the other approvals that slow down action. Employees can rely on cultural influences to help them decide what they should do. As a result, they will act quickly and they will show their initiative.

3. The culture builds enduring execution capability. As critical behaviors turn into habits, people become faster and better at executing. There is evidence of greater customer loyalty, employee engagement improves, emotional commitment to what the organization is focused on grows, continuous improvement is more rigorously pursued and there is greater resilience in downturns.

4. Behaviors in normal times emulate positive behaviors during crisis situations. Executives often praise the collaborative, selfless and energetic behaviour of their people in times of crisis and lament that they do not see so much of these attitudes normally. “This difference is in large part explainable by the activation of cultural forces that occurs during a crisis,” say the Booz consultants. “When you are focused on activating those forces all the time, you get that ‘special’ level of performance all the time.”

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
2

3 weeks ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new company (NewCo) and s ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

3 weeks ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double tragedies of MH370 and ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Thousands of South Sudanese kids face starvation: Unicef
United Nations, Sep 23 (IANS) Thousands of children, up to five years age, are at a risk of dying from malnutrition in South Sudan, the Unicef has warned.
 
 
'Ebola could hit up to 1.4 mn West Africans'
Washington, Sep 23 (IANS) The number of Ebola cases in West Africa could reach as many as 550,000 to 1.4 million by Jan 20 in the worst-case scenario, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC) warned in a report Tuesday.
 
 
London turns world's most expensive city
London, Sep 23 (IANS) London has overtaken Hong Kong as the world's most expensive city to live and work in, as a new study has suggested it has turned nearly twice as pricey as Sydney and four times more expensive than Rio de Janeiro. India's Mumbai was found to be at the bottom of the 12 most expensive cities report.
 
 
Woolly mammoth skeleton to be auctioned in Britain
London, Sep 23 (IANS) A woolly mammoth skeleton, having remained a part of a private collection for years in Europe, is all set to be auctioned in Britain.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Cairo to resume Palestinian-Israeli talks in October
Cairo/Jerusalem, Sep 23 (IANS) Egypt concluded Tuesday a new round of Palestinian-Israeli indirect peace talks in Cairo with both the sides approving the agenda of further talks scheduled for the second half of October...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Serbia willing to support US fight against IS
Belgrade, Sep 23 (IANS) Serbia is willing to support the US in fight against the Islamic State (IS), Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said in letter to US President Barack Obama Tuesday. Vucic Tuesday expressed...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Iran unveils combat drone
Tehran, Sep 23 (IANS) Iran has unveiled an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) armed with air defence missiles suitable for aerial combats, a media report said Tuesday while showing a footage of the new drone. The combat...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
PayPal’s New Ad Mocks Apple Pay
Apple has once again been slammed by one of its competitors, as a new PayPal ad criticizes the new Apple Pay NFC transaction service.According to the Christian Post, the ad was published on Monday in various major...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Apple Watch Reportedly Including 512MB RAM and 4GB Internal Storage
The analysts continue to reveal more information about the specification of the Apple Watch, as a renowned predictor states that the next generation smartwatch will be equipped with a RAM of 512 GB and an internal...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Next Model of iPad Air and iPad Mini Reportedly Releasing in October 2014 and Early 2015
The rumor about getting more new Apple products in this year has been intensified, as a new report claims that the iPad Air 2 will see its debut in the next month.According to Apple Insider, the report has been...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Airstrikes against IS 'only the beginning': Pentagon
Washington, Sep 23 (IANS) The airstrikes on the Islamic State (IS) targets in Syria overnight Monday were "only the beginning" of a coalition effort of the US and its Arabic allies in the anti-IS fight, a Pentagon...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Sexual violence during civil war an open wound for Nepal
Kathmandu, Sep 23 (IANS/EFE) Hundreds of Nepalese women who suffered sexual abuse during the civil war are still waiting for justice, eight years after the end of the conflict, human rights organisations reported...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Thousands of South Sudanese kids face starvation: Unicef
United Nations, Sep 23 (IANS) Thousands of children, up to five years age, are at a risk of dying from malnutrition in South Sudan, the Unicef has warned. About 1.5 million people will be at crisis or emergency levels...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Three killed in warehouse shooting in US
Washington, Sep 23 (IANS) Three people were killed in a shooting incident which took place in a warehouse in the US state of Albama Tuesday morning, authorities said. The incident occurred in a warehouse near the...
Read more on Politics Balla