Can Rules Change Corporate Culture?

A cartoon of Moses rules change corporate culture saying "We only have a few rules around here but we really enforce them."

What Do You Think – Can Rules Change Corporate Culture?
If only corporate culture change could be accomplished through simply establishing a “few rules.” Unfortunately, effecting real organizational culture change, just as succeeding at real behavior change, is not easy. It takes far more than dictates from on high.

What We Can Learn From France about Rules and Culture
The recent attempt in France to cut down the time employees are spending (or wasting) on reviewing and answering emails provides an interesting example. The French enacted a new law on January first of this year that put companies with more than 50 employees in charge of setting limits on when their workers could send and receive emails. The intent was to free the workforce from carrying their work home, to protect their private time and to avoid upsetting their work-life balance.

Are Emails Really the Root Cause?
To be sure, emails can be an unnecessary burden and time drain. Bain & Company reported that managers, for instance, spend an average of 8 hours per week (one full day!) on email and that one-half of that time is spent reading mail that should not have been sent to them in the first place or responding to mail that they shouldn’t have answered. So changing the email culture would save time and raise productivity. But can it be done the way the French are trying to do it?

Our Point of View On Culture Change and Rules
Corporate culture—the way things get done in an organization day-to-day—cannot be changed except over time, with an agreed-upon purpose and in alignment with the business strategy. Even then, it should not be addressed in the same way at every organization. We think you have to take into account your own workplace culture and how the problem of email overload could be most effectively handled in your particular situation and with respect to your specific talent management strategies.

Can Rules Change Corporate Culture?  Three Steps to Take

  1. First you need to describe the problem and get leaders and workers to buy into your thinking that improvement is needed.
  2. Second you must identify and articulate how the change will benefit the target audience, their bosses and the company as a whole.
  3. Third, work with key stakeholders at all levels to craft a solution that makes sense.

Can You Treat Effective Emails Like Effective Meetings?
So with that in mind, perhaps you can design more effective emails according to the model you use for effective meetings. A clear agenda is similar to a clear and straightforward subject line. The attendees should have a need to be at the meeting just as the email recipients should have a real need to receive the news in the email.

Just as there is a wrap-up of clear action steps and responsibilities at the end of a meeting, so should there be a clear call to action at the end of the email.

The Role of Leaders to Change Culture
Once your email reduction plan is accepted and understood, the changes should be modeled by leaders; and the desired behaviors should be encouraged and recognized. Only then can the email culture change begin.

So What Happened in France?
It’s too early to tell. But our prediction is that just changing the timing of email will not result in the desired change of less work or greater employee satisfaction. It is likely that time spent on emails will only shift from “off-hours” to the actual work day and the other work will take place in those rescued “off-hours.”

You Need More than Good Intentions to Change Culture
The intention—to preserve a better work-life balance—was obscured by the way the legislators went about changing the workplace culture. It was a “one-size-fits-all” approach that missed the real goal.

The Bottom Line
Can rules change corporate culture?  Not by themselves.  You, however, have a chance to do it better. Take into account what works best at your unique company.

Make sure your plan for change aligns with a clear business strategy, with your desired corporate culture and with the top talent you have worked so hard to attract, engage and retain.

To learn more about if rules change corporate culture, download 5 Science-Backed Lenses of Change Leadership

Comments are closed.

I’ve been associated with LSA for the last 8 years and have found them to be an extremely professional, well managed full service training organization. Since working with LSA, I’ve participated in a number of solutions ranging from Performance Management to Assertiveness Training – I’ve found that the quality of the resources is superior. They are well prepared and have definitely done a considerable amount of pre-work in order to customize our culture and business into the total learning experience – making it most beneficial for our employees.

Duane Schroeder
Human Resource Manager

I had been working with LSA for many years with my prior company. Currently, I’m with a company who hadn’t done much basic management skills training. After identifying and presenting a program recently, our managers are excited and talking in the halls about the great experience. LSA saves us time in delivering the right training for our needs.

Phyllis Moracco
HR Director

For our go to training outsourcing partner, LSA provides exactly what we want. As always, they deliver outstanding work!

Elizabeth Siebert
Director, Organizational Excellence & Development

Intuit

We value our relationship with LSA Global. We came to LSA because we wanted to improve overall behavioral based interviewing capabilities of our managers to increase the probability of both hiring top talent and future leaders. LSA designed a highly customized solution for our business and culture. We are currently rolling out this solution to our leaders. I would highly recommend LSA Global as a top quality resource.

Rae Phillips
HR Project Manager - Training & Development, PHR

We partnered with LSA Global to help us invest in our people in the areas of performance coaching, diversity, and inclusion. They focused on helping us succeed and were very flexible in meeting our specific needs. LSA Global exceeded my expectations from a speed, quality, and value standpoint. I would recommend LSA Global to anyone looking for a true business partner.

Anita Luckinbill
Director, Human Resources

Here’s a token of my appreciation for ALL your efforts. I’m offering my most sincere appreciation, and it extends to all the folks who made our customized management development programs possible.

Susan Anderson
Workforce Planning Bureau

We contacted LSA to help us with customized management development. LSA worked with me to identify a solution that would meet our exact needs. We decided to start at the top and ran the program for our executive team. It was such a great success that we hope to roll it out companywide. We look forward to a long-term partnership with LSA Global and their team of experts.

Barry L. Byrd, SPHR
Human Resources Manager

We have worked with LSA Global for our learning and development needs and have always had great success. They helped us recently with customized Management Workshops that we held for the second time. It was fantastic, and I would highly recommend LSA to anyone that is attempting to get immediate and impactful improvements.

Mary Johnston
HR Manager, BU Radiology Informatics

We signed up with LSA early on–as their 22nd Member! Since then, our organization’s learning needs have increased and decreased and increased again with the changing times. The beauty of the LSA business model is its flexibility…when we needed to supplement our own internal resources, we used LSA services knowing that we could depend on the outstanding quality of the leadership development and management training programs they provide.

Margie Bunting
HR Manager

LSA exceeded all my expectations. We interviewed 7 potential training and consulting partners and selected LSA due to their expertise, flexibility, and breadth and depth of solutions. We were able to construct a management training course from the modules most appropriate to our needs, and are able to provide additional training from their well developed portfolio of experts. Our managers galvanized as a team throughout the session and are better prepared for the rigors of a competitive market.

Mitch Mandich
CEO

Edify

We recently partnered with LSA Global to offer our Supervisors and Managers a customized two-day management training program. Everyone who attended said it was by far the best management training program they had ever attended. The content was rich and highly interactive. The case studies were relevant. Each participant walked away from the training much better equipped to lead their teams.

Jeff Coon
Director of Human Resources

Understanding and conforming to legal compliance was very important to our company. We turned to LSA Global to provide a quality and cost effective way to ensure that we were AB 1825 compliant. Their interactive eLearning program was top-notch. It allowed our managers to learn at their own pace, and on their own time. The program was tailored to include our logo and our internal harassment policies. It was interactive and met all federal and state legal requirements. I would highly recommend LSA Global to any company looking for an efficient and effective and top quality way to train their managers to be in compliance.

Kelly Warren, SPHR
Director, HR & Compliance

“We turned to LSA to help us custom design and deliver a leadership and management development curriculum to help drive performance. They have done an excellent job diagnosing the business situation, designing an approach that fits our culture, and delivering a first class solution.”

Sally Buchannan
VP Human Resources

LSA is an instrumental training outsourcing partner in helping us to build management capacity and strategically invest in our people. Their flexibility, depth, and breadth of expertise allows us to deliver top quality solutions that are directly tied to key business plans. Their ability to custom design, deliver, and evaluate our Management Curriculum has been excellent. They are true business partners and a pleasure to work with.

Margaret M. Mader
Vice President, Human Resources

Hyperion

LSA helped to meet the needs of my teams within a very narrow timeframe. My team walked away with highly useful management tools and practices. LSA saved us time in delivering the right solution for our specific needs.

Sandeep Kumar
Director, Software Engineering, EPG

Evaluate your Performance

Toolkits

Toolkits

Download key published insights and tools from industry experts highlighting best practices in the areas of talent, strategy and culture.

More

Health Checks

Health Checks

Want to know how you stack up against leading organizations?  Receive a complimentary benchmarking analysis courtesy of an LSA Expert.

More

Whitepapers

Whitepapers

Get up to speed on timely solutions critical to your business. Published by LSA Experts based upon client feedback and key industry trends.

More

Methodology

Methodologies

First we identify the key metrics you want to improve. Then we assemble a dedicated team of elite experts who have successfully solved similar problems with similar clients.

More

Blogs

Stay up to do date with the latest information on how we help high growth companies align their culture and talent with strategy.

More

Case Studies

Client Case Studies

Real world consulting and training approaches from LSA projects, providing insights on how your company can outperform the competition.

More