6 Steps to Change Your Organizational Culture

As a leader, you may know that you want to make a change in the culture of your team, department or organization.  But what should you do?  Here are six steps to help you create a culture that is a strategic asset.

Clarify values

Values are the foundation of organizational culture.  Any culture change must being with clarity about what leaders in the organization value and how those values will drive success. Help leaders identify their personal values and create connections between their personal values and the organization’s values.

Reinforce the vision

Vision should answer the question “where are we going”.  Successful culture change does not require a new vision.  What is required is to ensure that the vision paints an inspiring picture of the future that draws on the values embraced by leaders in the organization.  Make sure everyone in the organization is clear on the vision and values –  and how those elements lead to the success of the organization as a whole.

Empower behaviors aligned to values and vision

Changing behaviors, particularly leader behaviors, is the key driver achieving a culture change.  Behaviors create experiences for the people in organizations.  Those experiences are the day-to-day reality of the culture. Defining the behaviors is critical.  Even more critical is removing the obstacles to aligned behavior. 

Align conversations up and down the organization

Get people talking!  Leaders should be discussing values, vision and behavior – and their link to organizational success.  Communication is key and leader driven communication is critical.  These conversations should be woven through team organizational meetings, team meetings, one to one performance conversations.  These themes can also be repeated in internal communication. 

Target effort on high impact areas

Weave the values based culture into high impact organizational structures.   This may be your compensation plan, behavioral competency model, performance management process, and / or interviewing process.  Think about training for your managers in the specifics how to lead in a values based culture.

Emphasize success, reward change

Publicize your success.  Make sure you communicate major “wins” back to the organization.  This builds momentum and converts the doubters.  Also, ensure that recognition is aligned to your values.  Think about formal programs as well as individual recognition.

©2012 Melissa Lanier – All Rights Reserved

4 responses to “6 Steps to Change Your Organizational Culture

  1. I think empowering behaviors that reinforce the company’s values and missions is so crucial to encouraging the company culture you want. Great break down of all of these steps!

  2. Pingback: Culture Change? Clarify Your Values | HR Outsider·

  3. Pingback: Organizational Culture is… « Leadership for good·

  4. Excellent model. These elements all work for me. I would emphasize the empower behaviors as so critical. As with anything we CREATE, it is fragile and it does take time. Once again, I like it.
    Thanks – Michael

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