Imaginist35’s Weblog

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Be the best you are!

Its tough in business today. And probably getting tougher tomorrow. But when the recovery comes, are you going to ready to take advantage of it?

What’s your vision?

Whether it’s increasing your market share by 20% or transforming the way you do things to improve productivity and profitability, the secret of your success will be the way your people pull together to make it happen.

Anyone can help you articulate the vision and develop the Action Plan. But it is much harder to build the change-enabled, can-do culture that will make it happen.

That might sound like hype but its not. Most change programmes suffer from the lack of objective, quantified measurement of the ‘soft’ aspects – the focus on people. And its the people who have to change how they work, in order for the organisation to improve its performance.

But management culture does not have to be ‘soft’, nebulous or touchy-feely. Using the right models and tools, it is possible to quantify barriers to change and make them tangible, to measure the shifts in attitude and motivation needed for change to happen and to develop a well-defined programme to move culture change forwards along a clearly delineated route. That programme has to start with an assessment of the organisation’s culture today and its capability to handle change.

A Management Culture Evolution model provides the basis for the analysis and the route-map for the business transformation manager to take an organisation’s people up the ‘spiral of success’ towards becoming an aligned, empowered workforce, sharing knowledge, working with advanced IT tools and managed by visionary leaders capable of making far-reaching, well-founded decisions.

Does that sound like where you are now? No?

I’m not surprised! Most organisations have a bureaucratic and ‘tribal’ culture, where work is managed and rewarded according to laid-down policies and targets, rules and procedures which have become barriers to change rather than facilitators of efficiency. Silo working blocks the sharing of ideas and knowledge across groups and departments.

Staff in this culture tend to focus inwards, at local group or department level and see other groups and departments as the enemy. They spend a disporportionate amount of time focused on those relationships, building up walls around themselves to stop the others being able to come in and take what is theirs. These walls slow down the organisation’s responses to the outside world. They also block the alignment of the individual with the corporate goals, because they have insulated themselves from those goals.

The information you need to perform effectively in an organisation like this may not be available, or if it is available, it may not be of good quality, because others don’t see your need as a priority. What top management knows is governed by the way that information flows, and that is likely to be delayed, distorted and channelled via the hierarchical structure, so they won’t know what is actually happening out there.

Does that sound more familiar?

Changing a culture like this means reinforcing people’s confidence in their own importance to the organisation, while slowly unpicking ‘selfish’ behaviour. It means developing cross-organisation communication networks and getting people to understanding the end-to-end nature of what they do – in detail, not just the process maps the consultant left behind from the last reorganisation. It means giving people more responsibility for deciding how they work, within this more aligned culture.

Then, when decisions are made, they need to be made from bottom up as much as from top down. Superficial, ‘tick the box’ consultation won’t wear with a more empowered workforce.

Can you do that? Can you be the best you are?

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April 17, 2009 - Posted by | business change management | , , , , , , ,

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