Transforming culture

23rd May 2023

A company’s culture…

“The way we do things round here”…

In effect, your company’s culture is your company’s habits. And we all know how hard it is to change habits!

I often get asked to work with companies to change their culture/habits around sales and/or communication.

There are lots of things we need to achieve this – desire to change, agreement on the way we want to do things, consensus on what we should stop doing, etc. But…

    …by far the most important is top down endorsement.

Every time I work with a company that wants culture change, I always insist on speaking with the most senior person possible. They have to endorse it, sponsor it, vocally stand behind it… all that stuff.

If they do this, we have a chance of success.

If they don’t, we have no chance. As in, absolutely zero. Because their colleagues will say – quite rightly – “S/he isn’t doing it. So it can’t be that critical.”

In addition to sponsoring it, the senior leadership also has three other essential roles to play:

  1. Role model – they must role model the new culture/behaviours in everything they think, say and do
  2. Proactively lead – they have to lead from the front. For example, explain to their direct reports what the new culture means for them; what new behaviours they want to see; what old ones they don’t want to see. They then must ensure these direct reports cascade this message brilliantly to their teams
  3. Instantly react – as the old saying goes: “when you ignore bad behaviour, you empower it”. So all leaders have a critical role in watching everybody’s adoption of the new culture. The minute someone slips back (“bad behaviour”), they must instantly react. They can do this in a lovely, charming way of course. But they have to instantly put people back on the correct new path. If they don’t, they ignore it – so they empower the slip back

Do your company and leaders do this?

Do you?

Action Point

Identify what you can start/stop/continue doing, to help your company – and you – improve your culture and habits!

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