Tag: Culture change

Culture changeMarketing 3.0

Leadership development process for culture change

Revamping destinations up to a 3.0 model entails, among other challenges, upgrading the leadership level of their executives. As it has been explained in previous blog posts, The Leadership Circle Profile is a methodological framework to assess Leadership Quality and orientate leadership development for those who want to leap forward from one stage to another, creating awareness of the need for the leaders’ transformation as a first step towards culture change.

The method for leadership quality assessment and development combines peer to peer analysis and development sessions focused on specific topics, in a way that the leader’s peers and subordinates analyze his evolution and needs for improvement. This requires a great deal of confidence, sincerity and commitment, along with humility on the side of the leader, to listen to his peers and subordinates criticism on his leadership style and effectiveness. The involvement of peers is not only to obtain a more comprehensive and realistic assessment, but also to develop their awareness and commitment on this issue, so long as leadership is not only the leaders’ job, but everybody’s co-responsibility in their role in order to improve the collective leadership and the organizational culture.

At the end of every session, the leaders commit to improve a certain aspect of their leadership, and at the following session they analyze the improvements achieved. This usually consists of reducing a specific Reactive behavior, developing a Creative competence and also a leadership improvement goal. All these have to be measurable to track progress, and the goals should be also quantified to measure the level of success in each one. This method manages also to create a culture of trust and support, so long as peers talk openly about themselves and their coworkers, their fears, weaknesses and questions. This way, the forces constraining cooperation and self-development are reduced to leave room for further empowerment and development of synergies within the organization. These sessions are usually carried out every few months for a period of about two years.

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.

Culture changeMarketing 3.0

Harvard’s tips about culture change

Beyond the BCG and Kotter’s approaches that have been explained in previous posts, Harvard Business Review provides a long list of tips to complement the aforementioned methodologies, and also to understand all the factors that should be taken into account, so long as they influence the process of culture change and its chances of success. These are the following:

Readiness to change is about arousing a sincere want for change. A leader’s admission of vulnerability is rather likely to help others recognize and address their failings. You can’t force people to change. You can only help them want to.

It is essential to replace negative habits with positive ones. Linking old to new habits is far more effective than approaching them separately. Doing A instead of B simplifies the change, rather than stopping the B habit without clear instructions of what to do instead.

Peer support and pressure foster change. One of the best ways to change human behavior is to gather people with similar problems. Bringing employees together to discuss initiatives creates accountability, mutual generosity, a judgment-free attitude, and increased pressure.

Sponsorship deepens commitment and sparks results. Identifying and rewarding early adopters of the new behaviors is likely to create positive contagion. For the slower adopters of the new behaviors it is much better to pair them with early adopters than external coaches.

Community without hierarchy is a catalyst for change. Confidence and trust tends to be higher in the closest relationships with peers rather than formal leaders, and so the informal relationships should be leveraged to move change forward, beyond the hierarchical leaders.

It pays to acknowledge small wins. Change management system should find ways for employees to show and celebrate incremental achievements. Failing to create short term wins is likely to lead the process to failure. Change effort needs to be often refilled with new energy.

Match strategy and culture. Too often executives underestimate to what extent culture alignment is a key success factor for strategy’s effectiveness, and actually is being an obstacle to strategy implementation. Culture, strategy and goals have to be closely interconnected.

Focus on a few critical shifts in behavior. Implementing culture change, as for any strategy challenge, is essential to set priorities. In this case, it is convenient to identify the key behaviors to change, prioritize them and focus only on the top priorities at first.

Honor the strengths of your existing culture. Instead of focusing only on the negative behaviors to be changed, it is recommendable to acknowledge the cultural assets of the organization that do not need change, and make the change feel more like a shared evolution.

Integrate formal and informal interventions. When promoting behavior changes it is necessary to appeal first to the emotional level (values, pride, integrity, etc.) and then to the rational self-interest (incentives, promotion, etc.) using both formal and informal interventions.

Care about professional development. Employee commitment is more likely to be achieved when these feel that the organization is investing in their future by providing training and caring for their professional development. Then they are more eager to buy into the change.

Assign clear accountabilities. Every member, starting with the executive team, should know what change goals and initiatives he or she is responsible for. The accountabilities should be cascaded accordingly from the leadership level to the bottom level of the organization.

Measure and monitor cultural evolution. As well as any other aspect related to strategy implementation, culture change progress has to be monitored, in order to identify misalignments or need for strategic reorientation. Executives should focus on four areas:

  • Business performance. Progression of the KPIs, assessing both outperformers and underperformers, and analyzing the underlying causes of the measured results.
  • Critical behaviors. The extent to which the members of the organization have changed their behaviors according to the established priorities.
  • Milestones. Level of accomplishment of the intermediate goals established in the implementation plan, considering the priority level of each goal.

When designing cultural metrics, it is better to focus on a few critical indicators than to create a complex system, which actually takes a great effort to develop and manage. In accordance with the metrics system, there has to be an incentive system to reward successes and give recognition to the best performers. Finally, don’t underestimate the power of a positive mindset, as it has the potential to change performance by creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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.

Culture change

BCG model of culture change (II)

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.

Culture change

BCG model of culture change (I)

According to Boston Consulting Group, culture change is not only achievable but entirely feasible within a reasonable amount of time. Any organization can realize its target culture by implementing change based on the answers to four questions:

  • What culture do we need?
  • What culture do we have and why do we have it?
  • What aspects of the organizational context should we change to get the behaviors we seek?
  • How do we make the change happen?

What culture do we need?

To determine what culture your organisation needs it is necessary to have a clear purpose, a set of goals and a strategy designed to meet them. The target-setting process involves translating the strategy into the specific capabilities and behaviors required to implement it. The target culture is thus a combination of behaviors related to employee engagement and strategy-specific attributes. Engagement can be described as the degree to which individuals and teams are in accordance with the organisation’s culture. Engaged employees are ambitious, inspired, achievement oriented, accountable, and supportive:

  • Ambitious: they set high goals for themselves and the organization, in order to strive to be a leader in its industry.
  • Inspired: senior management effectively communicates the vision in a way that employees believe in the organization’s goals and in the intrinsic value of their work.
  • Achievement-oriented: they meet or exceed performance requirements despite challenges. Exceptional performance is rewarded; poor performance is not tolerated.
  • Accountable: they are held accountable for meeting corporate and individual goals. There is a compelling desire to consistently meet the organization’s milestones.
  • Supportive: they mentor and develop direct reports and others. Real value is placed on teaching and mentorship.

The leaders must choose strategy-specific behaviors along the following seven dimensions:

  • Structured vs flexible: how specifically are processes and acceptable behaviors defined? How closely are they followed in practice?
  • Controlling vs delegating: to what extent is power and decision making concentrated at the top or diffused throughout the organization?
  • Cautious vs risk permitting: how much does the organization support risk taking?
  • Thinking vs doing: to what degree do people spend time creating ideas or executing them?
  • Diplomatic vs direct: how transparent are communications between coworkers & managers?
  • Individualistic vs collaborative: to what extent are employees concerned with their own individual performance versus shared goals?
  • Internal vs external: to what extent are processes and behaviors oriented toward the outside world versus the internal environment?

Leaders make these choices by translating the organization’s strategy into a set of capabilities and behaviors required to deliver it. The strategy is therefore implemented through the employees’ behaviors in accordance with the mentioned parameters.

What culture do we have and why do we have it?

Culture is mainly determined by the organizational context. Many organizations’ members may be unaware of the effect that the leaders, structure, systems, and incentives have on people as individuals and in teams. It is this organizational context, and not mindsets, that drives and sustains culture. Desired behaviors can emerge spontaneously when the context changes. Mindsets, values, and culture will follow the contextual changes.

Diagnosing culture. To diagnose why you have the culture you have, you need to identify employees’ behaviors and uncover their causes. This can be done by conducting a survey, interviews and focus groups to identify the behaviors that characterize its culture. Then, organizations can clarify whether current behaviors match those that the strategy requires. It is also necessary to find out their underlying reasons, to design the appropriate interventions.

The explanation of this model is to be completed with another upcoming blog post

Culture changeMarketing 3.0

Developing leadership for change: 4 levels of leadership (II)

Following with the explanation of The Leadership Circle Profile’s 4 levels of leadership, hereby are presented the two most interesting and necessary leadership levels for culture change as well as for the development of destinations 3.0: Creative leadership and Integral leadership.

Creative leadership. In the transition to the Creative Mind, the leader opens the mind by leaving old assumptions behind and exploring the inner self in search of a more authentic identity in connection with the soul. In this stage, leaders analyze the values they are willing to stand for and reflect upon the purposes they want to strive for, depicting a new vision of who they want to become and how they want to contribute to achieve these purposes with their leadership. The definition of the new self is configured from the inside out. In this stage, action is no longer driven by the social standards but by a sense of inner purpose, developing creativity, feeling more freedom and motivated by fulfillment rather than for appreciation.

The Creative leader is driven by self-expression and cooperation, encouraging others to follow the same development path, developing new and better leaders within the organization. This leadership style is characterized by many new competencies, classified into five categories:

  • Achieving, the ability to envision and attain results
  • Systems awareness, the capability to design organizational systems for higher performance
  • Authenticity, the willingness to act with integrity to tell the truth even when it is risky
  • Self-Awareness, balance, composure, emotional intelligence, and ongoing development
  • Relating, the capability to relate well to others, build teams, collaborate, and develop people.

The Creative stage is the first level –within the TLCP framework- from which it is possible to create lean, engaged, innovative, visionary, high-fulfillment organizations and to transform the culture in accordance with the new challenges of the XXI century.

This type of leader is mainly focused on developing new leaders by depicting the vision, engaging others and making them realize how the vision also sets their path to fulfillment, and empowering them to cooperate to achieve their common purposes.

Integral leadership. The stage beyond the Creative mind aspires to be a servant of the whole stakeholder system by working on a vision that goes beyond the interests of the organization, to create positive impacts also for the outside stakeholders and caring for the community’s common good to the largest extent. This type of leader develops the ability to tackle complex systemic challenges that require a great deal of listening, dialogue, reflection and vision for the development of complex and integrative solutions. Only 5% of leaders reach this stage, which accounts for the best performance score of all, around the 90th percentile. This can only be achieved through the development of a higher consciousness capable of envisioning larger and more complex systems where to develop multiple synergies.

The intended legacy of this kind of leader is a mission driven organization connected to society in order to address many of its concerns related to the environment and social challenges such as poverty alleviation. This is a leadership style designed for advancing towards global sustainability and common good. It is therefore the best possible leadership for developing destinations towards the vision of Tourism 3.0.

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.

Culture changeMarketing 3.0

Developing leadership for change: 4 levels of leadership (I)

Regardless of the culture they belong to, leaders develop through a series of sequential stages.  According to The Leadership Circle Profile –a reference methodological framework for leadership development- at each progressive developmental stage, the way we manage the self-world relationship changes, shifting the self towards a more complex and superior Inner Operating System (IOS). With this “new operating system”, the leader is able to handle more complexity with greater ease and efficiency. The person experiences a leap forward in creativity, effectiveness, freedom, power, and joy, becoming capable of greater contribution.

The culture change process takes place first in the consciousness of every person. Then, every individual influences the system to change it, and the new system encourages more people to experience their personal leap forward. As soon as a critical mass has developed, the new stage is achieved and consolidated, reducing significantly the chances of leaping back to the previous stage, and setting the stage for a leap forward towards higher-order leadership level. Therefore, the organization performs in accordance with the level of consciousness of its individuals. Actually, resistance to change is mostly derived from the difficulties that individuals have in making this leap forward in consciousness. This needs coaching and support. The four leadership stages are: egocentric, reactive, creative, and integral.

Egocentric leadership. This stage starts at the age of 8 and usually finishes at the end of the adolescence or early adulthood. This is characterized by relating the identity with the ability to meet ones needs, and so the social relationships are built in view of satisfying the personal needs only. Unavoidably, the strength of egocentricity is the capacity to get the personal needs satisfied and gain independence. So long as the egocentric are not aware about the others’ needs, they do not take these needs into account when making decisions. There is a total absence of shared reality in this personal stage, and so the growth path consists of taking others’ concerns into account and defining the identity co-relationally in a way that loyalty shifts from self-loyalty to the social loyalty. Around 5% of leaders operate in this stage.

Unfortunately, some people do not fully make the leap forward to the next stage and remain egocentric in their adulthood. The Egocentric mind is normal in adolescence, but pathology in adulthood. Leaders with egocentric mindsets tend to be autocratic and controlling, pretending that employees exist to serve them. This turns into an oppressive and destructive leadership.

Reactive leadership. The challenge of the Reactive Mind is to develop the ability to cooperate with others and within organizations. Leaders at this stage build their identities from the outside in: their self-worth is determined by their ability to meet the expectations of their social environment. To feel successful and worthwhile they need the approval of the others, which is based upon a set of standard cultural values.

These leaders are defined according to their capabilities, in three categories:

  • They define their identity around the relationship skills, developed by leveraging their big-hearted nature, and tend to give up too much power to be accepted.
  • Controlling. This type of leader tends to use power to achieve what they want, using people for their own profit. These leaders define themselves through their achievements.
  • Protecting. These leaders build their identity upon their intellectual superiority. They are distant in relation to others, thus limiting their capacity to influence.

By focusing on their capabilities they eventually over-use these strengths, and this excessive use becomes a weakness and their main limitation, so long as they restrict the range of options when dealing with any challenge. This obviously limits their leadership effectiveness. This mindset is programmed to perpetuate the status quo, and so whenever there is a challenge, the leader will focus on fixing the problems in a way that everything gets back to the previous state, without making any leap forward on the model to address the root of the problem. Further, the lack of vision makes it barely impossible to anticipate challenges and take action accordingly, and so he or she is only moved by the reaction to the problems when they arise, and this reaction is driven according to the standard procedures of the cultural environment to meet the expected results of this environment.

With regards to the Egocentric style, Reactive style replaces the loyalty to the self with the institutional loyalty. This is characterized by relationships based on loyalty and obedience, and bureaucratic oriented hierarchies. Nowadays, however, most change efforts intend to create leaner, flatter and engaged cultures, which require more ownership and creative accountability at the lower levels of hierarchy. The Reactive leadership is not ready for such kind of culture transformation, and so a higher-order mindset is needed. There comes the Creative mind. It is estimated that about the 70% of leaders operate in the Reactive level or in transition towards the Creative stage, so this is the kind of leader we are more likely to deal with.

The explanation of the Leadership Circle Profile’s 4 levels of leadership is to be completed with another upcoming blog post.

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.

 

Culture changeMarketing 3.0

Creating and communicating a vision for culture change (II)

The Case for Change is the best formula to structure and communicate the vision for change. The leader’s objective with the Case for Change is to establish baseline level of awareness and understanding of the changes. Once defined, it’s time to implement it following five principles:

  • Train employees and stakeholders on how to apply the new set of values on a daily basis.
  • Put the new values into practice by changing behaviors
  • Leaders have to preach by example, becoming the role models that inspire everybody
  • Ensure that everyone is aligned with the new values and behaviors, and correct if necessary
  • Celebrate results achieved by any employee or community member to encourage others

The key ideas of driving culture change to understand are that this has to be started from the leadership positions, practicing what you preach, communicating to convince their organization or community while listening, understanding and addressing their possible resistance, achieving and celebrating results, and benefiting all stakeholders to engage them further.

To communicate the vision and the Case for Change effectively, the storytelling techniques can provide us with many tips. Effective leaders tell stories that position them and their organizations as change agents instead of defenders of the status quo. Stories are pull strategy: they allow people to decide for themselves, which is one of the great hallmarks of effective influence. In the case of destinations shifting their model it will be necessary to explain to them the model vision in a compelling way that connects first with their emotions and human spirit, to open their want for a deeper understanding of the process and purpose.

Stories are the best way to help people imagine how the new model is likely to improve their current status quo, how it creates value and improves the community’s life quality. Stories convey the new model ideas to the people’s minds describing them in a way that overcomes resistance, the most likely reaction to new model propositions challenging the status quo. By capturing people’s attention, stories are to pave the way for an in-depth presentation.

Such destination’s vision is not only necessary to convince the community members to integrate, but also a guiding force that constantly aligns everyone’s efforts on their contribution to expand the destination model to the utmost of its potential and to accomplish the mission statement.

When crafting the case for change, it is convenient to craft some stories that illustrate for an individual what the change is going to be like, escaping formality to make it more familiar to the audience. Then, it is necessary to remind of the basic features that good stories share:

  • A strong sense of a plot: the story should provide listeners with a sense that the organization is going somewhere exciting
  • Meaning that drives action: employees should be able to say “I know what to do in my area because it fits with my values and where we are going”
  • Multiple and consistent versions: each person who hears the story should be motivated by it in different yet compatible ways
  • Inevitable: listeners should come away thinking “it had to happen that way”.

Further, stories are effective for culture change purposes when they are:

  • Simple: listeners are not overwhelmed with detailed facts and information
  • Relevant: the purpose and theme of the story matters to those who hear it
  • Inclusive: everyone can see themselves in the story
  • Emotional: the story excites, delights, surprises, or otherwise moves the listener at an emotional level. It engages multiple senses.
  • Friendly, not cynical: even sad stories should leave the listener feeling hope, understanding or satisfaction.
  • Shared by many people: the story is interesting and important enough to be shared over and over again. The best stories get more compelling when they are shared and refined as part of a dialogue before being passed on.

Beyond the story itself, mastering the art of storytelling to make stories compelling requires several skills and strategies to take into account:

  • The teller should convey his or her own personal energy, excitement, and conviction. Using phrases such as “I feel…”, “I am doing this because…”, “I want to go for this…”, or “I know we can do this” may help in transmitting positive vibrations.
  • Providing context, like using a global perspective to gain understanding about the threats that force the change or raise ambition about the scale of the opportunity
  • Being clear on the rationale for change by drawing on both the burning platform (the need for change) and the shining beacon (what can be achieved with the change)
  • Using simple language that is relevant to the audience, translating technical terms into words that everybody can understand easily
  • Showing personal commitment, making it clear what would be done differently and how the staff are to be supported during the change process.
  • Using tested rhetorical techniques so long as the teller can build them into his/her own style. For example, using repetition for emphasis like “I believe we can do this, I believe we have the skills to do this, I believe we need to do this, etc.”

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.

Culture change

Overcoming resistance to change

Changing the culture of a complex system like a destination model requires a leader’s mindset at least as complex as the system that has to be changed.  In most of the cases, the change entails moving forward towards a more complex system, which not all leaders are ready to tackle. For instance, moving from Patriarchy to Partnership requires that Controlling leaders share power and lose part of the control, which is the scariest thing they could do. Instead, Complying leaders have to take on power and risks, challenging their worst fears.

As it is explained in the section “Four levels of leadership”, every type of leader has its own challenges, and overcoming them requires a great deal of courage, humility and mindfulness, among other attitudes. There are many reasons why cultures are difficult to change, so long as the cultural values are deeply ingrained into the policies and practices of the organization. Therefore, when leaders want to implement change, not only they have to review the organizational goals and behaviors, but also the KPIs, the professional profiles needed and the training procedures.

Barriers to change. Throughout the change process, leaders are likely to come across many barriers that block or deaccelerate the change progress. The main ones are the following:

  • “Not-invented here” syndrome: workers mistrust the new methods that have been developed outside and have not yet proven to be successful in their organization. In this regard, many may feel that “alien know-how” challenges their corporate pride, especially in the top management levels. People believe in what they have seen to work.
  • Feeling threatened: many employees may feel that they are rather likely to be part of the problem than to be part of the solution, and so they feel threatened by change. Their natural reaction may be to resist in group, to make it impossible, believing that the leaders are not likely to replace them all, because it is too costly.
  • Business as usual: many people are so used to operating according to certain procedures that it is really challenging for them to change them. They have serious difficulties adapting to new rules so long as the old ones bring them security and confidence. They are likely to follow the inertia of the old procedures as soon as they hesitate about the new ones.
  • Misunderstandings: lack of communication effectiveness is one of the most current obstacles to implementing culture change. So long as change entails shifting to another operating system and not just some operational changes, complexity always arouses many questions and misalignments that expand the chances for misunderstandings.
  • Different assessments: no matter how brilliant the change leaders can be, it is difficult to prevent the employees thinking by themselves and so they have different assessments and opinions about the problems and the solutions, the advantages and disadvantages. This is likely to arouse discussions and at least, to slow down the change process.

Strategies to manage resistance to change. In accordance with the level of resistance, there are some strategies to tackle it ranged from the least to the most extreme:

  • Education & Communication: employees need to understand the logic of the change effort, the reasons why they have to create change. Education and communication can be an effective practice to convince them to buy into the change and clear misunderstandings.
  • Participation & Involvement: another effective way to engage employees into the change effort is to let them participate in the design of the process, as active players of the challenge, instead of letting them play only a passive and reactive role.
  • Facilitation & Support: beyond the mentioned strategies, manager’s coaching, mentoring and support is likely to be necessary in many cases, to help some employees deal with their fears and insecurities during the process. This may entail dedicating time off work with them.
  • Negotiation and Agreement: when resistance is stronger, this may be tackled with a negotiation including an incentive system to stimulate them to perform according to the change planning. This makes them feel empowered instead of feeling obligated.
  • Neutralizing resistance leaders: most organizations have some informal leaders, with a more or less strong influential capacity on the rest of the group. Neutralizing their negative influence on resisting change may be a solution, by convincing, relocating or firing them.

Beyond the strategies in accordance with the resistance level, it is important that the change instructions are personalized for every type of worker, or even tailored individually in some cases. Individuals’ performance has to be tracked and rewarded according to redesigned metrics to sustain and stimulate the intended behaviors and focus of attention.

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.

 

Culture changeMarketing 3.0

Kotter’s model of culture change

John Kotter’s change model is a reference model for all professionals dedicated to culture change. It is structured in 8 steps:

  1. Create a sense of urgency, awareness and desire. Change leader should first open an honest and convincing dialogue about what’s happening in the marketplace and with your competition, to make the audience foresee the threats and opportunities to tackle. When many people start talking about the proposed change, the urgency can build and feed on itself. In that sense, the leader should:
  • Identify potential threats, and develop scenarios showing what could happen in the future.
  • Examine opportunities that should be or could be exploited
  • Start honest talks, and give convincing reasons to get people discussing and thinking.
  • Request support from customers and outside stakeholders to strengthen your arguments.

Kotter states that for a change to be successful, 75% of a firm’s management has to “buy into” the change, which means to spend time and energy creating urgency, before moving on.

  1. Create a powerful coalition. Culture change has not only to be managed, but also has to be led, and so change leaders should be found throughout the organization. To lead change, you need to gather a coalition of influential people whose power comes from a variety of sources (job title, status, expertise, and political importance). Once the change coalition is created, it needs to work as a team and continue to build urgency and momentum around the need for change. This could be done by:
  • Identifying the true leaders in the organization and the key stakeholders
  • Asking for an emotional commitment from these influencers
  • Working on team building within your change coalition
  • Ensuring that you have a mix of people from different areas and levels in the organization
  1. Depict a vision for change. The coalition members have probably great ideas, but these should be linked to create an overall vision that people can understand and remember easily. To help them understand the vision and move them to take action, the leaders should:
  • Determine the values that are central to the change
  • Craft a short summary that captures what they see as the future of the organization
  • Design a strategy to execute that vision
  • Ensure that their change coalition can describe the vision in no more than five minutes
  • Practice their “vision speech” often
  1. Communicate the vision. Once you have created your vision your success will be determined by how effectively, frequently and powerfully you communicate it. You should actually try to embed it within everything that you do, like using it daily to make decisions and solve problems. When you keep it fresh on everyone’s minds, they’ll remember it and respond to it. What you do is far more important than what you say. Walk your talk to be credible.

 

Show the behavior you want from others by practicing what you preach. This can be done by:

  • Talking often about your change vision, linking it to all the aspects of operations
  • Listening to the people’s understanding of the vision and concerns, to clear doubts and reformulate the speech if necessary
  • Addressing peoples’ concerns and anxieties, openly and honestly
  • Leading by example
  1. Remove obstacles. Is there anyone or anything resisting the change? Once the structure for change is put in place, it is necessary to remove obstacles, empowering the needed people to move the change forward in the direction of the vision. This can be done by:
  • Identifying or hiring leaders in charge of delivering the change
  • Ensuring that the organizational structure and incentive systems are in line with the vision.
  • Recognizing and rewarding people for their contribution to make the change happen.
  • Identifying people who are resisting the change, and helping them see what’s needed
  1. Create short-term achievements. It is very convenient to get a taste of victory in the early stages of the process, achieving some visible and relevant results to keep critics and negative thinkers away from the spotlight. To do so, it is necessary to create short term goals as milestones along the whole process, so as to keep the organization members engaged with the change process. This can be done by:
  • Looking for sure-fire projects that you can implement without help from any change critics
  • Not choosing expensive early targets. The project investments should be easy to justify
  • Thoroughly analyzing the pros and cons of every target, to choose attainable goals
  • Rewarding those who help in meeting the goals

  1. Build on the change process. Many change projects fail because victory is declared too early. The change process takes time until it is fully completed and quick successes are only the beginning of what needs to be done to achieve long-term change. Each win provides an opportunity to build on what is right and identify what needs to improve. This can be done by:
  • Analyzing what went right and what should have worked better after every success
  • Setting goals to continue building on the momentum that is being achieved
  • Learning about kaizen, the concept of continuous improvement
  • Bringing in new change agents and leaders for the change coalition to keep ideas fresh
  1. Anchor the changes in corporate culture. To make any change stick, the values behind the vision must show in day-to-day work, and so it is necessary to make continuous efforts to ensure that the change is seen in every aspect of the organization. It’s also important that the organization’s leaders continue to support the change. This can be done by:
  • Talking about progress every chance you get. Tell success stories about the change process, and repeat other stories that you hear.
  • Including the change ideals and values when hiring and training new staff
  • Publicly recognizing key members of the original change coalition, and making sure the rest of the staff remember their contributions.
  • Creating plans to replace key leaders as they move on to ensure that their legacy is not lost

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.

Culture changeMarketing 3.0

Creating and communicating a vision for culture change (I)

Once the current culture has been diagnosed and culture change inhibitors have been identified, it is necessary to craft a vision depicting the future reality that we want to achieve and the path towards this achievement. The new vision statement has to depict both the new destination model as well as how and why the culture has to be changed. So long as the culture change is an essential step towards achieving this vision statement, communicating why the culture needs to change and the benefits it will bring is the first step to take.

A vision that depicts a feasible path towards a state where the challenges have been overcome is a tremendous motivator and mobilizer. Research indicates that employees respond extremely well in terms of positivity, engagement, and of course productivity, when the company leaders have a clearly articulated and communicated vision that responds to people’s concerns and aspirations, as long as the leaders really walk their talk and results meet expectations along the way.

A well-crafted vision is essential to align the workforce and motivate them to make change happen. To be effective, the future vision has to comply with these six conditions:

  • Imaginable: it conveys a clear picture of what the future will look like upon attainment of the vision statement.
  • Desirable: it appeals to the long-term interest of employees, customers, shareholders and others who have a stake in the enterprise.
  • Feasible: it contains realistic and attainable goals that stakeholders believe can be achieved.
  • Focused: it is clear enough to provide guidance in decision-making and serves as a true north that aligns the actions of others.
  • Flexible: it allows individual initiative and contingency plans in light of changing environment conditions
  • Communicable: it is easy to communicate and to understand by the stakeholder audience.

Engaging people in the change process requires first the establishment of a sense of urgency, according to Kotter 8 step process for leading change. One of the best ways to do so is to craft a powerful case for change. This consists of a story that explains the change process that is coming to the organization. Its objective is to provide a common baseline of awareness and understanding among stakeholders. When facing the audience you should be able to tell the story in 10-15 slides and include visuals and graphics to enhance the story whenever possible.

The major content pieces to incorporate in the Case for Change story are the following:

Context: set the stage by explaining why changes are needed now, mainly referring to the opportunities and threats that make it necessary.

Changes: explain what will change, who will be impacted by the changes and to what extent, stating also what is not going to change.

Process: describe how the changes will be implemented and its expected timing, providing the next steps and introducing the team members who will lead the change.

Benefits: highlight the expected benefits as a result of the changes. Be sure to address all levels of benefits: enterprise-wide, specific divisions, and individual roles.

Consequences of delay: list out the consequences of delaying the changes. These are the counterpoints to those who would say “we can wait until next year to do this”.

Expectations: inform your stakeholders about what is expected from them. Make it clear that everyone has a role to play in successfully implementing the changes.

Commitment: the top leader should present the Case for change first. Then, subordinate leaders should present it to their teams, stating their commitments to make them accountable to their employees.

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.