True culture transformation requires more than a cosmetic corporate make-over.
How can companies re-align culture and make change stick?
The concept of organisational culture is highly appealing to business leaders. Indeed, many globally admired companies credit their success to their unique organisation cultures. Representing ‘how things are done’, organisational cultures are important drivers of employee behaviour, particularly when employees must be relied upon to act on their own initiative in a way that is consistent with the company’s objectives, culture and values.
But managing and / or transforming organisational culture is not for the faint-of-heart. Nor does it merely involve a cosmetic sleight-of-hand. Efforts to change organisational culture often face three significant obstacles.
- Firstly, culture is challenging to grasp as it is an inherently intangible issue.
- Secondly, changing the behavior of one person is already difficult enough, let alone trying to sustain new behaviours throughout an entire organisation.
- Finally, attempts to transform culture are often met with cynicism – the culture snaps back to old habits if initial changes are not sustained.
Traditionally, executives look to their HR department and their tools – from reward to training – for help to change culture. But even experienced HR professionals get frustrated. The reason lies in the fact that successful transformation does not depend on the number of tools used, but rather how deeply the efforts penetrate.
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