To Accelerate Culture Change, Focus on the Strengths of Your Culture
Unless you have a systemic culture problem that threatens the very existence of your business, we advise our clients to focus on what’s right with their culture rather than what’s wrong if they want to accelerate culture change.
In our over twenty years of helping clients transform their corporate culture, we have found that when companies focus less on what’s toxic in their culture and more on what’s healthy, they are able to leverage their strengths and more actively engage their people to drive the cultural changes required to execute their strategies.
The Positive Approach to Accelerate Culture Change
Sure, there are almost always aspects of workplace culture you want to change. But don’t lose sight of what’s working. Take a positive approach and build on your strengths.
Four Best Practices to Accelerate Culture Change
Here are 4 best practices to accelerate culture change:
1. Make the Case
It is human nature to resist change when things are going relatively well. It will be up to you as a leader to explain to your employees why the change in culture is needed and how the successful transformation will benefit the work force, your clients, and the company as a whole. Make sure each employee clearly understands the rationale for the change in terms of the future of the business as well as what’s in it for them as individuals.
The more you actively involve them in the process and the more transparent you can be about the case for change, the more willing your work force will be to embrace and support it.
2. Respect the Good, Motivate Toward the “Even Better”
Here’s your opportunity as a leader to appreciate, recognize and salute what is working. These are the strengths of your culture that help both the people and the business. Articulate the good whatever it may be…from a strong customer service orientation to an unwavering commitment to quality.
Then use that as a platform to build cultural strength and change where it is needed most.
3. Monitor, Track and Reward Desired Culture Change
In order to accelerate culture change, you must translate the changes you desire into actions and behaviors needed from each employee. Everyone needs to know exactly how they are expected to do their work differently to align with the “new way.”
Then you need to carefully watch for employees doing it right, praise them for the desired behaviors, and recognize them for both their effort and success.
4. Create Culture Change Leaders
Look for the early adapters who have embraced the change and recruit them as change advocates to help accelerate culture change. The best culture champions are trusted influencers and natural leaders and are skilled in coaching and developing others.
They act as culture change champions, support people managers, tell the positive personal stories that sustain the vision of successful change, and inspire and motivate their coworkers.
The Bottom Line
It is possible to accelerate culture change if you build on strengths rather than focus on weaknesses. Instead of berating employees for all that’s going wrong, you can encourage them to do more of what’s going right. Don’t underestimate the power of the positive approach.
To learn more about the three areas of culture to pay attention to, download The 3 Levels of a High Performance Culture
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