by John Knight

Leading the way to a new direction

When an organisation decides that its culture has to change – whether that is because of internal drivers, changes in customer behaviour or external influences that need to be recognised and acted upon – there is one thing above all others that will help ensure that the change happens and beds into the organisation on a permanent basis. That one factor is having the right leadership in place.

Change has to come from the heart

For change to be embraced and accepted, it needs to come from the top. It is important that the leadership team understand why the change is necessary and believe in the worthwhileness of the change. Your staff, suppliers, and most importantly, your customers won’t believe there has been a culture change, if you don’t.

More than box ticking

Real change in a company’s culture will not happen overnight. It is the culmination of lots of small things that will ultimately result in a shift in perception, both internally and externally. The change in culture can be showcased via a host of visual cues, such as new branding and marketing collateral, but needs to be truly demonstrated through the strategies, processes and actions throughout the business, in particular by the business leaders. It is one thing to talk about culture change, but the business and its employees need to be seen to be living it too.

Beliefs, values and assumptions

Company culture is made up of the beliefs, values and assumptions that are shared throughout an organisation. To ensure a fundamental culture shift is successful you must embrace the behaviours associated with your culture and repeatedly live them. In time, it will be recognised that this is the accepted culture of the business, and slowly this will infiltrate throughout the whole business. Positive reinforcement of employees that mirror the company culture will further strengthen this position, while working with those that display the wrong cultural values is equally important.

A strong company culture is a true business differentiator; however, it takes time and good leadership to achieve one. Don’t rush it, the results will make the time taken worthwhile. Culture change is all too often left unaddressed in a change programme, not only because it is both long term and intangible – but also because it’s hard. It is much easier by far to focus on the simple things, like structure, process and system changes, because they can be seen and demonstrated. But it is only by addressing the behaviours and culture that all those other changes will stick.

Talk to us if you would like to explore how the C.Co team can help you introduce company culture into your organisation.