The Change Factor - The business catalyst
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Intent versus intensity

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all you needed to do to bring about culture change, was to get everyone in a room and we all agree that something has to change, then everyone leaves and just gets on with it.

Tried that, doesn’t work.

OK, then how about getting everyone involved in writing the company values, so that they adopt them because they created them?

Tried that, won’t work

Maybe we should change everyone’s job description to match the intention of the culture we need?

Tried that, won’t work.

How about we get rid of people that don’t fit in, leaving behind only those that have the attitude we need?

Tried that won’t work.

Lets announce the values that management have defined and have an event to celebrate them with a month of activity?

Tried that, won’t work.

We redefine the process that everyone uses, change any associated software and that will ultimately change people’s attitudes?

Tried that, won’t work.

We need to define clear competencies and map everyone against that perfect model!

Forced to try that, knew it wouldn’t work.

It must be all about reward, so we connect people’s pay and bonuses to the behaviours that we need?

Tried that, won’t work.

Right, lets give everyone a personal objective associated with the values so they are working to make them real?

Tried that, won’t work

How about we send all the leaders to a two day training programme and give them the latest in leadership theory so they implement it and that will change the attitudes of those around them.

Tried that, won’t work.


So if none of those work, then how do you bring about culture change?

The answer is that none of these work on their own. The silver bullet approach just does not deliver a change of culture. True culture change is only likely if most of these are implemented in a cohesive programme across 18months to two years.

To change culture you need to engage everyone in why it needs to change. You need to involve them in what the improved culture will look like and what it will take to get there. Then you need to make it easy to be part of that culture, so you remove your processes that enforce the old style, change associated software, rewrite job descriptions, update your reward system so that you stop rewarding old behaviours and reward the new. You need to get everyone involved somehow, so you endeavor to give people an objective that is part of changing the culture or involve them in planned activity that involves them in doing things the new way. You will need to help some people get off the bus if they don’t want to be on it any more, as you can’t afford to have people staying to force the culture back the way it was. And your leaders do need to change their style to align it to the new approach. You may not achieve this by sending them to hear the latest theory though as the theory has to be totally aligned to your needs (knowing more theory wont make them better leaders). You probably need to get more specific and personal about their needs.

The key is, If your intent is to change culture then you need to match it with the intensity of your activity.

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