Why do you want to change your culture?

 |  24 November 2021


If you’ve ever worked in a corporate environment, the chances are you’ve heard the term culture change.  


Although culture is a term used extensively to describe the human experience in society or at work, many are still confused about what it actually is.   


I believe this is because there are two critical questions, not one… 


1. What is Culture?  
2. How does Culture happen?  

Many people have an answer to the first question but are left baffled at the second.  


No single definition of culture seems to satisfy all people completely. But when you ask people what it is, most have a reasonable answer. Many say, “It’s what we do around here,” some say, “It’s the unwritten rules,” and some say, " What behaviour is expected either formally or informally.” Anthropological definitions highlight the artifacts that make a society unique. All are correct.  


Culture is....  what we do, why we do it that way, ie: its the outcome of the behaviours, systems and structure that hold it in place.  This definition reveals to us four fundamental things about business culture:  


1. It is Active  
2. It is Systemic

3. It is Maintained

4. It is an Outcome


Culture is created by people and held in place by people and systems. Therefore, it can be changed. Your culture may not be what you want, but it has been created deliberately.   


How is Culture Created? 


If we believe culture to be an outcome, consider the inputs? This is how culture is created. Culture is the experience we have of the expectations that are enforced (formal and informal) and the operating environment that enables the business to function.


Well then, how does it change?


When you really think about it, it’s simple—it’s just the work that is hard. To truly transform your culture, you have to have a clear vision, values, and strategy. You need to make different decisions, recreate processes, stop doing things that have served you in the past, and start doing things that may feel uncomfortable for a while.


I’ve seen great transformative work, great change management in action, and experienced absolute disasters. It's not surprising that disasters happen because of a lack of capability in the person leading the change and the approach that is used. Perhaps your business needs transformation, and instead, you are focused on making process changes—i.e., chipping around the edges.


If you want to explore business change or culture culture with an expert then drop us a line at SynergyIQ and we will explore the mutual benefits of working together. 

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