Making Small Culture Changes for Big Results

Small Culture Changes from cat to lion

Sometimes Small Culture Changes Can Deliver Big Results
For many leaders, changing culture can be a confusing and daunting task.  Smart culture change agents understand that identifying the few critical behaviors that will have the greatest impact on moving the business forward is often the most effective place to start.  So how do you identify the small culture changes that will deliver the greatest results?

First, Be Clear About Your Desired Results
What is it, exactly, that you are trying to accomplish?  Until you have a clear picture of the ultimate business goal, you can’t effectively narrow down the unlimited array of possible behaviors that will get you there.  Start by articulating the specific and tangible business results you want to see.  In most cases your desired results should fall into one of the categories below:

  • Sales revenue, margin, win rate, portfolio mix, deal size, and sales cycle
  • Customer acquisition, loyalty, growth, and satisfaction
  • Leadership execution effectiveness of key corporate strategies
  • Management employee performance, engagement, retention, and relations
  • Employee attraction, development, performance, relations, engagement, and retention
  • Project cost, quality, and time

Second, Identify the Critical Behaviors that Contribute the Most
Once you know what you want, you can begin to analyze the observable, measurable and repeatable behaviors that directly contribute to reaching your objectives.  For example, if you want to improve employee engagement, we would recommend that you run an employee engagement survey to identify the top 2-3 areas that have the highest correlation to high levels of engagement in your organization.

One of our recent clients identified manager feedback as the most important critical behavior that could improve their cultural health with the largest degree of impact.  Accordingly, they constructed an action plan to assess, improve and reward the behaviors related to giving and receiving effective feedback.

Attributes of Critical Behaviors
If you do not have a predictive tool like an employee engagement survey to point you in the right direction, you can still winnow down the list of behaviors by ensuring they are:

  • Measurable
    You should be able to observe and track the desired behavior so you know how well and how often it is being performed.
  • Relatively Fast
    Think through how quickly the behavior can be adopted and how quickly it will have the desired effect.
  • Comparatively Easy
    Consider how easy it will be for employees to learn and apply the new behavior.
  • Impactful
    In our opinion, this factor should carry the most weight. You are looking for meaningful results.  Choose the vital few behaviors that will move the needle the farthest and the fastest.

The Bottom Line
When you want to shift the culture to drive your business strategy forward, be smart about where you place your bets.  Select the few most critical moves…the ones that take the business where you want to go most effectively.

To learn more about how to identify the small culture changes that will have the biggest impact, download The 3 Levels of Culture to Pay Attention To

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