Want to Change Culture? Do Not Start A Culture Change Project!

Start a culture change project and it will fail. Solve the problems that hide behind cultural matters and related cultural matters disappear. The latter happened when a leading IT services organisation successfully identified and solved problems that were undermining employee effectiveness. Could something similar be possible in your environment? Here is a way to find out:

1) Are patterns such as the following seen in your organisation?

  • Far too many resources are wasted in bureaucracy. Even clients get stuck in bureaucratic procedures.
  • Project failure rates are high.
  • Employees have lessons learned, but getting them published on the Intranet or accepted by the central organisation is cumbersome. When they are published, Intranet searches show them on page two or five; this leads to an attitude of, ‘Why contributing lessons learned when nobody uses them?’
  • Employees expect easy access to directions, guidance, and lessons learned so they do not end up re-inventing the wheel or falling into known traps. However, Intranet search delivers 5, 10, or 30 hits for them same and similar documents. A part is outdated. Instructions are conflicting. Employees ask themselves, ‘What can I trust?’

2) Do you see some of the above patterns fuelling situations such as the following?

  • Complaints and finger-pointing.
  • Disconnects between central organisations and the field.
  • Disconnects between the core business and staff departments, such as IT or Finance.
  • Local organisations going their own way.
  • More and more budget becomes locked in unproductive tasks, such as control mechanisms, on-going fire fighting, and high project failure rates.

3) Have several of the following been corrective actions to some of the situations above?

  • A document management system was made available to ease Intranet publications.
  • More processes, policies, and rules, as well as software tools, went into production.
  • Stricter execution of processes, best practices, and instructions was applied, and more control measures were implemented.
  • Improvement projects were restarted, as previous projects failed or delivered insufficient results.
  • Additional best practices were implemented, as the operational best practices delivered insufficient results.

At this point, it is time to ask the this question:

After all the corrective actions, could it be that the problems listed under question 1 are still unsolved?

Consider also: Could several of the following cultures be consequences of unsolved problems listed under question 1?

  • Silo behaviour of organisations
  • Shame and blame
  • Command and control
  • Following the processes and instruction overrules common business sense and client needs
  • The ‘not invented here’ syndrome
  • In-the-box thinking when innovation is needed

Would you want your organisation to unlock this high-impact opportunity?

Then here is where you can learn to make this happen: Register for the free webinar, ‘Organisational Intelligence: Introduction’ and/or download the white paper ‘Bridging the Gap between Central Organisations and the Field’.


About Eugen Oetringer

Driven to find Simple Solutions to Complex Challenges. Especially interested when earlier improvement attempts have delivered insufficient results.
This entry was posted in Avoiding Traps, Best Practice, Bridging the Gap, Bureaucracy, Change Management, Communication Skills, Complaint, Conflict Resolution, Constructive Dialogue, Conversation, Effective Solutions, Leadership, Leadership Coaching, Leading, Lessons Learned, Management, New Generation Leadership Training, Project Management, Root Cause Analysis and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Want to Change Culture? Do Not Start A Culture Change Project!

  1. Al Simard says:

    Eugen – Our organization is 6/6 of your list of unsolved problems! And you are quite right – solutions afre not to be found in typical bureaucratic measures.


  2. Pingback: Favourite Posts and Articles of 2013 That I Read – dan pontefract

  3. Pingback: Favourite Posts and Articles of 2013 That I Read by DAN PONTEFRACT | Pennington Consulting Group Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s