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

 
 
 

33 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

7 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 slashing the wo ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

7 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 MH17" ...
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

US defence department to create medical team for Ebola
Washington, Oct 20 (IANS) The US Department of Defense said Sunday the military is creating a 30-member team which will be tasked with providing emergency assistance in case of Ebola virus infection in the country.
 
 
Israel's Tamar gas field to sell gas to Egypt
Jerusalem, Oct 20 (IANS) Israel's Tamar gas field announced Sunday they have signed a bid to sell at least five billion cubic meters of natural gas over three years to private consumers in Egypt.
 
 
Liberian president calls for global support to fight Ebola
Monrovia, Oct 20 (IANS) Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Sunday called on the international communities to join the country to fight the Ebola virus disease.
 
 
Spanish nurse tests negative for Ebola virus
London, Oct 20 (IANS) The Spanish nurse who became the first person to contract Ebola outside West Africa has tested negative for the virus, the government said.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Bush shoe-tossing painting hits record at Doha auction
Doha, Oct 15 (IANS/EFE) A controversial painting by Iranian artist Mahmud Obaidi, depicting an Iraqi journalist throwing shoe in 2008 at then US president George W. Bush, was sold for $62,500 at a Sotheby's auction in...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
US offers $45 mn bounty for eight terror leaders
Washington, Oct 15 (IANS) The US said Tuesday it is offering rewards totalling up to 45 million dollars for information on eight key leaders of the Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) terrorist organisation. The...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
UNSC extends peacekeeping mission's term in Abyei
United Nations, Oct 15 (IANS) The UN Security Council (UNSC) has renewed the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Abyei border region between Sudan and South Sudan. In an unanimously adopted resolution, the...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Ebola cases in West Africa could reach 10,000 per week: WHO
Geneva, Oct 15 (IANS) The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa could reach 5,000 to 10,000 cases per week by the first week of December. "Quite frankly, ladies and...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Turkey, Singapore sign strategic partnership agreement
Ankara, Oct 15 (IANS) Turkey and Singapore have signed a strategic partnership agreement to boost economic, political and cultural cooperation, as well as security collaboration, during the official visit of...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Christina Aguilera is returning to 'The Voice' USA
Christina Aguilera will return to 'The Voice' USA next year. The 'Your Body' hitmaker, who previously shared a rotating spot on the judging panel with Shakira, has been replaced by Gwen Stefani this season as she is...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Kesha's music producer hits back
Kesha is being countersued by her record company boss, Dr. Luke. The 41-year-old music producer, who runs Kemosabe Records, claims the 27-year-old 'Tik Tok' singer is a liar and is trying to extort him after she accused...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Jason Derulo won't get back together with Jordin Sparks
Jason Derulo insists his split from Jordin Sparks is permanent. The 'Talk Dirty' hitmaker, who recently ended his relationship with the 'No Air' singer after three years of dating, has ruled out getting back together...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Josh Groban feels 'very lucky' to be dating Kat Dennings
Josh Groban feels ''very lucky'' to be dating Kat Dennings. The 'Brave' hitmaker was very nervous before singing in front of the '2 Broke Girls' actress for the first time at the Carousel of Hope Ball in Beverly Hills,...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Australian Richard Flanagan wins 2014 Man Booker prize
London, Oct 15 (IANS) The first Man Booker prize to allow American nominees was Tuesday night won by an Australian, with Richard Flanagan triumphing for a novel of love and war that tells the harrowing stories of...
Read more on Celebrity Balla