Leading a Culture Shift in Your Organization

Part 1

Leading Culture Change

The CULTURE of your organization is either propelling you forward or holding you back.  A healthy organizational culture will give your organization the momentum and foundation for achieving the vision, mission, and goals of your organization.  However, a toxic organizational culture is like a cancer that destroys you from within, no matter how great your vision, mission, and goals are and no matter how well you communicate them within your organization.

So, how do you determine whether your organization is healthy or toxic?  And, once you’ve answered that question, how do you create a culture shift in your organization so that your vision, mission, and goals drive your organization to success?  In this series of blog posts, we will address some of the various issues of culture change and give practical advice on how to create a culture shift in your organization.

The concept or idea of making a “shift” involves changing from one idea or concept to another.  In this case, a “shift” takes place as you change from your existing, possibly toxic, culture to a more healthy culture.

So, how do you make this shift in your organizational culture so that you can accomplish the vision, mission, and goals of your organization?

The first step is to understand what makes up an organizational culture.  In their book, Change the Culture Change the Game, Roger Connors and Tom Smith present the essential elements of organizational culture.  They are as follows:

  • Experiences – the experiences that those in your organization are exposed to determine their beliefs about how your organization functions.  What are the experiences that are defining the leadership within you organization?
  • Beliefs – the values that those in your organization hold as true will determine their actions.  What are the belief systems that those in your organization value?  Beliefs are discovered not by what people say, but by what they do.
  • Actions – the actions of those in your organization determine your results.
  • Results – what your organization actually accomplishes.  These may or may not be in line with the vision, mission, and goals of your organization.

Further, on page 11 of their book, Connors and Smith state “Experiences foster beliefs, beliefs influence actions, and actions produce results.”

The second step is to evaluate your current organizational culture.  In your organization, look at the results you are getting.  Are they the results that you desire?  Are they fulfilling the vision, mission, and goals of your organization?  If not, then your organization needs to experience a Culture Shift!

In my next post, we’ll look further into this concept of your existing culture.  How do we understand and define it?  What is it about that culture that needs to change?  What does a healthy culture look like when it is aligned with your vision, mission and goals?  Until next time, take a few moments to think through the action point below.

ACTION POINT:   Culture Exercise

  1. Take a sheet of notebook paper and write the word RESULTS at the top of the page.  Then, begin to list all the results that your organization is accomplishing right now – whether or not they align with the vision, mission and goals of your organization.
  2. Then, write the word ACTIONS and list all the things that the people within your organization are doing to accomplish the results you listed above.
  3. Next, write the word BELIEFS.  List all the beliefs that your organization holds that determine the actions that drive the results.
  4. Finally, write the word EXPERIENCES and list all the experiences that those in your organization have had that have influenced and determined their beliefs.

When you have finished with your list, you are ready to begin further evaluation of your current culture.  See you next week.

To order a copy of the book referenced in this article, click the link below:

Change the Culture, Change the Game: The Breakthrough Strategy for Energizing Your Organization and Creating Accounta bility for Results

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