Are You a Culture Change Skeptic?

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
What are your assumptions about culture

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
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