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How to initiate and lead a successful cultural change?

The ability to adapt to change is one of the main “secrets” of business success. Companies that succeed and manage to survive for decades do so due to many different factors, but among them we always find a certain margin of flexibility that allows good adaptation to changes that are being produced in the market.

In this scenario, it is especially important company culture, because this influences in a very important way the how the organization is able to adapt and evolve. Precisely for this reason, in order to thrive in an environment that is constantly transforming, companies must address a cultural change that leads them to be better.

There has been so much talk lately about business culture that it seems like a phenomenon that has become fashionable. But thinking like that is a mistake. Because culture is much more than a fashion, it is a prevailing need for organizations.

We are in a moment of change caused by the great advancement of technology. Tools such as Artificial Intelligence are giving rise to new ways of working, including new jobs, and also to changes in consumer demand. If there is not one business culture that is responsible for supporting and promoting innovation in the company, as well as its adaptation to all the changes that are coming and those yet to come, it is almost impossible for an organization to stay at the forefront.

Therefore, on this occasion we are going to explore the different ways in which you can initiate and lead cultural change to achieve a successful result. Without a doubt, changing the culture of a company is a great challenge, but it is also a necessary step to continue progressing and achieving objectives.

Table of Contents

The impact of culture on business success

Business culture is the set of values, beliefs, norms and behaviors that characterize an organization. As we have said on other occasions, it must be more than a mere declaration of intentions. 

It has to be reinforced with a series of actions and behaviors by the organization, which lead to effective compliance with the values that emerge from the prevailing culture.

In recent decades, we have been able to verify that business culture has a transcendent influence on business performance:

Productivity and motivation

If the organizational culture is positive and advocates valuing employees, recognizing individual effort and encouraging collaboration, what we obtain as a result is employees much more committed to the organization.

This causes them to be more willing to give their best, that is, more motivated. And greater motivation in the workforce translates into greater productivity for the company.

Innovation

Cultures that promote innovation end up giving rise to organizations in which generation of new ideas and solutions It becomes a hallmark.

Innovation has always been essential to maintain competitiveness in the market and continue moving forward. But in the current moment we live in, it is even more important, because there is no room to be left behind.

Talent attraction and retention

When an entity's organizational culture is strong and positive, this is transmitted to employees, and is also communicated externally. One of the immediate effects is that improves the employer image of the brand.

In return, what is achieved is that the company has a slightly easier time retaining talent, and also attracting it to its selection processes. Because it is perceived as a good place to work.

Resilience and adaptability

Without a doubt, one of the reasons that best explains the growing importance of business culture is that it is an essential tool to be able to thrive in times of change and challenge.

If the culture is oriented towards resilience and adaptability, the company is better prepared to adjust to new market conditions, address threats and take advantage of emerging opportunities. 

Evaluation and diagnosis of current culture

If we want to implement a culture that can lead our company to success in a highly changing environment, we must first understand where we are.

It is essential to carry out an evaluation and diagnosis to see which parts of the implemented culture are working well, and which should be changed. To identify the key aspects of the current culture, we will develop the following tasks:

Data collection

Any in-depth analysis always begins with data collection. In this case, we are going to collect all those that give us valuable information about the current organizational culture.

To do this, you can use surveys, analysis of internal documentation, and even direct observation.

Identification of shared values and beliefs

Culture is not culture if it is not shared. Therefore, we must evaluate what are the values, beliefs and norms that the members of the organization now share.

This will help us identify which are the real values and principles that guide the behavior and decisions made by the entity. The logical thing is that they coincide with what is stated in the document that includes the company's culture, but we should not be surprised if this is not the case, because this is quite common.

Employee Perspective

Although objective data provides us with a lot of quality information, we cannot ignore the feedback that comes directly from employees. Because they have sufficient knowledge of the cause to give a informed opinion on company values, and whether they believe that the organization's way of acting fits well with the proposed culture.

Furthermore, by involving workers in this process, they are allowed to take an active part in defining the new culture. This will not only make them feel more valued, but will reduce the resistance to change when the time comes to make adjustments to move to the new organizational culture model.

Defining the objectives and goals of cultural change

At this point, we already know how important a company's culture really is and the first steps to take to move towards its change. Now comes the time to define the objectives that we are going to pursue through the new culture.

To make defining the new vision of cultural change a little easier, we can address the following tasks:

Involve key stakeholders

That is, listen to the contribution that all those can make. agents who are related in one way or another to the company, and whose opinion is important to this.

Knowing what others expect from an entity is a good first step to start working on the goals to achieve.

Consider the desired culture

In this process we do not start from scratch. The company must have some idea about what the perfect culture would be for it. What values, behaviors and attitudes are desirable at this time and with which can commit to make them a reality in your daily life.

Furthermore, we cannot forget that the culture has to be fully aligned with the company's values and its objectives. If there is no coherence, it will be difficult for the culture to become something solid.

Communicate the vision

As the change is defined, it must be communicated to all levels of the organization.

The new culture must result understandable for employees, and you have to motivate them. That for them it becomes one more element than the "Push" to work more and better.

Work towards achieving goals

Once the theoretical work has been carried out to achieve the change in organizational culture, it is time to take action and take measures that help us advance in meeting the objectives.

In order to evaluate if we are doing it right, the first thing we must do is set SMART goals. These are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic goals, and limited to a certain period of time. 

Regarding the deadline to achieve the objectives, it must be taken into account that A change in culture is not something that can be achieved overnight.. However, you should not exceed deadlines either. Creating a certain feeling of urgency drives all agents involved in the change to work quickly.

In order to know if we are more or less close to achieving the goals, it is essential that we define the Key Performance Indicators (KPI). For example, metrics related to employee engagement, innovation, talent retention, customer satisfaction, or any other aspect that is relevant to us.

If we have a solid vision of where we want to go, we will have a frame of reference that will help us make decisions and allow us to continue moving towards our goals.

Changing business culture is a challenge that is essential to take on in today's business world. Culture is the backbone that determines the way a company behaves and relates to employees, customers and suppliers and, depending on how it is defined and worked on, it can become the driver of progress and adaptation to changes. or be an obstacle to progress. What do you prefer it to be for your company?

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