In the first article in this series, I stated that the culture of your organization is either propelling you forward or holding you back. As we explore and evaluate the culture of your organization, you will begin to see a pattern emerge which leads to one of those destinations – forward toward your vision, mission, and goals; or, the inability to accomplish those goals no matter how great the vision and mission. Your organizational culture is what makes the difference in which direction you are heading!
(If you haven’t read my first article, click here. Then, complete the Culture Exercise listed in the action point section of the article.)
After you have evaluated your current culture, you will need to ask Am I getting the results that I need to get in order to fulfill the vision, mission, and goals of my organization? As you look at the list that you created in the Culture Exercise, you need to ask that question first. If the answer to that question is a resounding “yes,” then your focus needs to be on strengthening the culture that currently exists. If your answer is “no,” then you need to define the new culture that will help your organization reach those results.
Take a moment to right down your thoughts as you answer these questions. What does that new culture look like? How do I get from here to there? Then, begin by working through the following steps:
- First, define what “there” looks like. What results does your organization need to accomplish in order to fulfill the vision and mission, and to meet the organization’s goals? This is where you need to define what a “win” looks like. Clearly define what results your organization needs to achieve. If it is a certain number of parts produced on a production line each hour, then define exactly what that number is for your team. If it is increased customer service, then clearly define what that means for your team (i.e. every customer receives a greeting with a smile). Whatever your “win” is for your organization, it needs to be clearly defined in this step.
- Next, what actions do the members of your organization need to take in order to achieve those results? What actions will each person need to do on a daily basis that will produce the results that your organization needs? In the case of the customer service example above, you may expect every employee to smile every time they greet a new customer – both in person and on the phone. You may teach them a certain phrase that you want them to say as they greet the customer. Whatever the result is that you are looking to achieve in your organization, define the actions that will get you those results.
- Third, what new beliefs do they need to embrace that will help them act in such a way as to achieve the expected results? In order to influence the actions that your team needs to do, define what beliefs they would need to hold in order to achieve those actions. In many ways, this is a difficult part of the culture change process. Here, you need to define a list of beliefs that will influence the actions that will drive the results. What beliefs do the members of your organization need to adhere to that will influence them to act in the way that produces the results your organization is looking to accomplish?
Keep in mind that you ALWAYS act out your belief system. Beliefs always follow actions, but not always words. You can say that you believe a certain way, but your true beliefs will be shown by what you do. Many times they are aligned perfectly. Many times they are not. In order to understand what a person believes, look at their actions.
- Finally, what new experiences do you need to bring to your organization that will help define this new belief system? One of the best ways to develop a new belief system is to take the members of your organization to visit a company that is doing what you want them to do. Another way is to bring in a coach to train them and expose them to other ways of thinking and doing. (Check out My Services page to see if I can help you in this area.) Try to make a list of 3-5 experiences that point them toward what you are attempting to accomplish with your organization.
Culture change is a difficult task. It takes great thought, preparation, and planning. Most organizations can benefit from an outside coach, trainer, or speaker to assist in the culture change process. As a member of the John Maxwell Team, I specialize in leadership development and culture change. If I can help you in any way, please contact me.
Take the list that you created from the Culture Exercise in my last article. Lay out a new sheet of paper with the same four headings: Results, Actions, Beliefs, and Experiences. Now, underneath each heading fill in your responses for this NEW CULTURE that you want to create. Take the information in the article above and answer those questions for this new culture.
Next week, we will compare the two lists and begin to learn how to Lead a Culture Shift.