Following with the explanation in the previous blog post, hereby are explained the last two points of the BCG model of culture change.

What aspects of organizational context should we change?

Many people believe that there are too many factors and their inter-relationships and relationship with the culture are too complex, in order to know how and where to intervene.

The reality is that learning what to change is a logical and feasible process. Actually, so long as you understand the organizational context and the inter-relation among its constituent elements, you can effectively change culture. By applying techniques drawn from social and behavioral psychology you can create a set of interventions that move multiple “context levers” in the right combination.

Designing the interventions. Leaders have a plethora of context levers at their disposal to align employee behavior with strategy –and close the gap between their current and target culture. These levers represent a mix of hard and soft approaches that separately and in combination shape behavior. They enable organizations not only to understand the forces shaping their current culture but also to determine what needs to be changed.

BCG has identified 7 organizational-context levers that influence behavior and shape culture:

  • Leadership: leaders’ role-modeling behaviors; their manner of communication, especially in reinforcing desired behaviors; how they spend their time, manage their priorities, and interact with direct reports (do they micromanage or manage by principle?).
  • People and development: the kind of employees who are recruited; opportunities for meaningful work and the kind of career paths the organization enables; how talent is promoted and retained; the provided coaching; learning and development programs.
  • Performance management: the KPIs that the organization uses to define and track performance drivers, its policies and practices regarding compensation, benefits, reviews, promotions, rewards, penalties, and consequences of undesirable behavior.
  • Informal interactions: networks, the nature of peer-to-peer interactions, gatherings, etc.
  • Organization design: organizational structure, processes and roles, decision rights, and collaboration processes; units’ relationship to headquarters, office layout and design.
  • Resources and tools: the projects that are funded, access to human resources, management systems, and analytical tools
  • Values: the collective beliefs, ideals, and norms that guide people’s conduct and help them adhere to priorities, especially when facing a business dilemma.

For each gap uncovered in the context analysis, organizations must choose the right levers, design the right interventions, and determine when to apply them. Some interventions, such as setting a recognition system, generate quick wins, while others, such as a reorganization, take longer. Finally, it’s important to prioritize them according to their estimated impact.

How do we make change happen?

There is also the myth that changing behavior and culture is a gamble, so long as the complexity of the process makes culture change unpredictable.

The reality is that behavior and culture change is a predictable process and can be orchestrated to achieve the intended results. If you have carried out a sound diagnostic and identified, designed, and implemented the appropriate interventions, you can get fairly predictable results in the foreseeable period of time. However, doing so requires an active, practical and systematic approach, as well as considerable attention to change management.

Implementing culture change. A handful of practices can ensure that the interventions you choose will have the best chance of achieving the intended results.

  • Find and support change champions in the organization. In every organization there are people who have already adopted the new behaviors and are enthusiastic about attracting others to the new culture. These should have been involved in the intervention design and are committed to the proposed changes. It is also preferable to train these champions in leading change and ensure that they are rewarded for taking on that role.
  • Run pilot programs and roll out interventions. It is crucial to test a set of interventions through pilot programs. Once tested, there has to be a clear sequence and timetable to roll out the levers and interventions in accordance with the strategy. It is necessary to establish a metrics system to monitor the change progress.
  • Ensure frequent, precise, and transparent communication. Communication is critical in any change program, and it is even more important in culture change. The goal of a communications program is to make culture as tangible as possible, emphasizing what it means for the individuals who will be affected.
  • Monitor progress to adjust and refine interventions. Culture change is predictable, but it is also inevitably messy. Changing organizational context in the right ways will certainly reinforce the desired behaviors. Then it is crucial to monitor progress to determine if the desired results are actually being attained. If not, you have to adjust the interventions.

This blog post is from the Whitepaper “Building a culture of collaboration and innovation”, freely downloadable in this weblog. You may check the Whitepaper’s references to know the sources used for its elaboration.

Posted by Jordi Pera

Jordi Pera is an economist passionate about tourism, strategy, marketing, sustainability, business modelling and open innovation. He has international experience in marketing, intelligence research, strategy planning, business model innovation and lecturing, having developed most of his career in the tourism industry. Jordi is keen on tackling innovation and strategy challenges that require imagination, entail thoughtful analysis and are to be solved with creative solutions.

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