The 6 Most Common Drivers of Corporate Culture Change

The 6 Most Common Drivers of Corporate Culture Change
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Are You Facing Any of These Drivers of Corporate Culture Change?

Other than a change in corporate strategy, we find most organizations that want and need to change their culture face at least one, if not many, of the above drivers of corporate culture change.  Because strategy must go through culture and people to be fully executed, changes in leadership, strategy, or business circumstances often create the need to change how work gets done.

Any organization struggling to consistently execute their strategy in a way that makes sense to the business and to the people should take a hard look at its culture. While most organizations could benefit from increased productivity, a unique competitive advantage, and an easier way to get things accomplished, many organizations have not thought about culture from a strategic perspective.

Have you assessed your organizational culture to see if your culture is aligned with your strategy?

Examples of Drivers of Corporate Culture Change

  • Change in Leadership
    A services client hired a new CEO to replace the founder and to drive higher growth.  While the founder had focused internally on systems and processes to improve efficiencies, the new CEO’s growth plans required an external focus on markets, customers, and competitors.

    Changes in leadership or how decision-making gets done tend to have a ripple effect on your culture and your people.  Leadership misalignment increases churn, frustration, and disengagement.

  • Mergers and Acquisitions
    After several major acquisitions over the last five years, a high tech organization was struggling to execute company-wide strategies.  They were suffering from poorly integrated acquisitions with misaligned and conflicting approaches to market leadership, decision making, and customer intimacy.

    Are all of your divisions, functions, and teams rowing in the same direction in a way that makes sense?

  • Sudden or Unexpected Downturn
    A healthcare client facing an unexpected downturn realized that their siloed culture was inhibiting their ability to cross-sell and up-sell their full suite of offerings.

    Because cross- and up-selling require high levels of collaboration, their currently fragmented culture and performance management systems needed to realign to the new growth strategy.

  • Brain Drain
    A high-tech client faced increased employees attrition of top talent in key strategic roles.  They realized that their cultural approach to people and innovation had to change in order to retain key talent and meet their targets.
  • Exponential Growth
    A professional services client grew 30 percent per year for three years. In order to support and continue the profitable growth trajectory, they needed to change their cultural approach to work to be more standardized.
  • System & Process Changes
    A financial services client implemented a new ERP system that dramatically altered how work got done — both internally and externally.  While their strategy to scale absolutely required upgraded system capabilities, their culture, people, and customers were not ready for the changes.

The Bottom Line
Keep an eye out for the most common drivers of corporate culture change.  They often create or warn of cultural misalignment.  When they happen, be wary of going directly from strategy design to action planning or capability assessment.  Invest the time to ensure that the way work needs to get done (THE HOW) is fully aligned with your strategic goals (THE WHAT).

To learn more about how to handle drivers of corporate culture change, download A Purposeful and Aligned Organizational Culture – Your DNA for Success 

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