Speaking with a potential client, she asked about the process to “rebuild” their culture. The ensuing chat was interesting (I would call it “great!,” but the client hasn’t signed on yet…!)
First, culture isn’t actually “rebuilt.” It exists — in complete form — in every organization.
You may not LIKE the culture, may want to CHANGE the culture, but remember: It’s a change management effort, and has all the corresponding efforts and challenges of any organizational change process.
A specific culture can START anywhere within an organization, though it can only really be DRIVEN by the top. The top controls processes, most extrinsic motivations, environments, and sets values and acceptable behavior (the whole ‘lead by example’ thingy).
To change culture, all levers must be congruent… policies must match behaviors; values must be supported by procedures and accepted norms; compensation must match desired behaviors, actions, and results.
They’ve all got to work together, and when changing a culture (vs. maintaining), you really can’t afford even small inconsistencies.Without over-stressing my keyboarding skills, desired culture change will never take place via “programs,” off-sites, workshops or other isolated events.
It’s gotta be the whole enchilada. It must have complete support of the senior-most staff, and necessarily reinforced (in part) via performance management.
In other words, it’s kind of a big deal…