Thursday, January 16, 2020

Are You a Culture Change Skeptic?


Guest post from S. Chris Edmonds:

Are you a culture change skeptic? Do you have a hard time seeing how your organization’s work culture affects employee behavior, performance, or enthusiasm - so you tend to think it just doesn’t even exist?

We consultants – or “culture refinement experts” – deal with skeptics all the time. The way “into skeptical hearts” is to listen and understand their point of view, share your plan, and let the results – over time – speak for themselves. Numerous studies have proven the positive impact of culture on performance and how fulfilling employees see their work.

Who is in Charge of Culture?

Who is responsible to manage an organization’s culture? The assumption is that no one is formally assigned to the role to manage culture. We can cite examples of culture officers but the best answer is that senior leaders have the ultimate responsibility to manage their organization’s culture. Their job is to ensure consistent performance for the benefit of a “triumvirate”: customers, employees, and stakeholders. If they don’t create a work culture that supports efficiency, innovation, high performance, and employee engagement, they won’t satisfy that triumvirate.

How do you know the Positive Impact was due to culture change?

Our clients are the best people to answer this question. Senior leaders who experience our culture process believe that culture is the primary driver of the results they’ve seen. Results of the culture change process include:

     ASDA, a UK grocery chain, was selected as the top employer of choice by a Sunday Times survey. Sales and profits outperformed the entire retail sector over a two-year span.
     Banta Catalog saw profits increase 36%, employee engagement increase 20% in six months, and retention increased 17% over a two year period.
     Foodstuffs Auckland (New Zealand) found ROI on their culture project exceeded $600,000 within the first year. Turnover fell 28% while the out-of-stock reduction of 1% resulted in $100,000 of additional profit.

Culture Change is Dangerous to One’s Career

Someone might come to the conclusion that a person leading organizational change will risk losing their job. Often senior leaders who embrace the positive power of culture find themselves in organizations that don’t support this world view. They may choose to leave, to go find a more values-aligned organization. Or, they may be forced out, often because their department or division culture (despite its successes) is very different from the parent organization’s culture.

These scenarios do occur, yet more often we see culture champions celebrated because of the positive impact of culture refinement on the business.

I am delighted every time I help a “culture skeptic” understand the power of culture, of values alignment, in a workplace to increase revenue, profits, employee work passion, and positive customer experiences.

What are your assumptions about culture change?


S. Chris Edmonds
 
is a sought-after speaker, author, and executive consultant. After a 15-year career leading successful teams, Chris founded his consulting company, The Purposeful Culture Group, in 1990. Chris has also served as a senior consultant with The Ken Blanchard Companies since 1995. He is the author or co-author of seven books, including Amazon best sellers The Culture Engine and Leading at a Higher Level with Ken Blanchard. Learn from his blog posts, podcasts, assessments, research, and videos at http://drivingresultsthroughculture.com. Get free resources plus weekly updates from Chris by subscribing here


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