Leaders often recognize the need for culture change. They acknowledge it is fundamental to successful transformation, including in planned Mergers & Acquisitions. But while the need for culture change is known, getting it implemented successfully is another story. As the authors of the January-February 2018 Harvard Business Review (HBR) article“The Culture Factor” note, “ In our experience, it is far more common for leaders…to either let it go unmanaged or relegate it to the HR function, where it becomes a secondary concern for the business. They may lay out detailed, thoughtful plans for strategy and execution, but because they don’t understand culture’s power and dynamics, their plans go off the rails.”
You may be surprised to hear us say that being “change adept” requires multiple capabilities, including, but not limited to, a systematic change management methodology like AIM. It’s true. Change management is just one piece of the puzzle!
One of the challenges facing our change management consulting clients is the level of change fatigue across the organization. There is simply no rest from the constant barrage of changes that disrupt past habits, patterns and ways of working. It creates an unprecedented level of organization stress, especially when there are fewer resources than ever before. The change fatigue is further compounded when those Change Agents responsible for implementation confront a history of projects that are initiated, but not successfully implemented.
Change saturation is quickly becoming one of the biggest challenges in organizations across the globe. Our Change Management Consultants see it everywhere they go. “Sure, we can do that.” “Oh, that initiative will improve sales. Let’s get going on it quickly.” While there certainly isn’t a shortage of good ideas out there the bottom line is almost every organization we know has too many initiatives chasing far too few resources.
Your corporate culture is the collective pattern of values, behaviors, and unwritten rules of your organization— in other words, it’s the collective Frame of Reference for your organization. Others can copy your products and services. Others can even imitate your marketing. But no other company can replicate your organization’s culture. Your culture is what makes you… you.
Your organization’s culture is arguably your greatest strategic asset. Your competitors can potentially match your product or service by creating a marketing strategy as equally as powerful as yours. But, no other organization has your culture. It’s what makes you successful in what you do. So, what happens when your culture and another organization’s culture are supposed to merge into one?
Imagine a world in which your organization’s most complex issues are solved by a continuous improvement effort and then the new processes are implemented seamlessly into the organization. Where Lean isn’t just a process improvement approach for a few, but a culture shift for the whole organization. An organization that just doesn’t do “Lean,” but where a Lean mindset permeates through the organization. Sounds perfect, right?
If your organization is like most, there is significant emphasis on implementing innovation across the enterprise. Developing market-leading products, business process improvements, new patient care models, ground-breaking strategies, new markets --- all offer substantial potential for increasing market share, efficiency, and competitive advantage. And let’s face it… competitive advantage is what everyone is seeking.
Recognize this: if you are implementing an ERP, Lean/Six Sigma, Shared Services, a new Patient Care Model—you are under-taking transformational change that has a cultural change component. When you begin the transformational change journey, there are inevitable truths your leaders must come to grips with! This is not just a change for the project team, or the organization at large. It is a change for the leaders themselves, and their role can’t be overlooked or under-estimated.