When it comes to culture transformation initiatives, complying with change is different from committing to change. For it to be successful, leaders need to be committed to changing how they think, act, and interact. You can’t force this kind of change… at least not sustainably. An essential part of closing the gap between where an organization is now and where they need to be is providing a clear roadmap of the culture plan. This is an important step toward making the necessary changes.
Creating the roadmap for culture change
The results of the tools we use in Axialent to measure the current and ideal culture (OCI® Organizational Culture Inventory® and OEI® Organizational Effectiveness Inventory®) and the leadership styles and behaviors (LSI® (Life Styles Inventory®) allow an organization to identify levers for change, so they can establish a detailed action plan for successful change management and measure their progress.
Developing an action plan for culture change requires planning for deeper, longer lasting transformation. It is not your regular change management plan.
It needs to cover the following aspects:
- People need to understand the change, what it implies, and most importantly, why they should change.
- They need to overcome any negative emotions associated with the change and connect it with positive emotions.
- They need to be capable of change.
The “Shadow of the Leader” is long. People will seek their leaders’ example of what it truly means to change. By using the LSI®(Life Styles Inventory®)tools from Human Synergistics, we provide leaders a powerful roadmap for themselves, that weaves neatly into the organizational roadmap because it is built on a common framework and a shared language.
Most leaders easily “get” what needs to be done at an intellectual level. However, bridging the gap between knowing what they need to do and actually doing it requires working on a deeper level – what we call at Axialent the “being” level. Leaders have to become the leaders that the new culture needs them to be before we can aspire to achieve any true change and get others on board.
Traditional training is insufficient for this – adaptive learning is a must in most cases.
Only after addressing these three factors can you expect people to be willing and committed to change.
Next steps – some food for thought
- An action plan CAN be simple. It all boils down to who does what, by when.
- Think of action planning as a proxy of the culture change you want to see. For example, if you want to foster a culture of greater accountability, empower autonomous teams to lead action planning for culture transformation in their sphere of influence and hold them accountable for progress and outcomes.
- Consider mapping stakeholders by subcultures instead of the usual employee segments and check if this adds value to your action plan.
- When you have a powerful suite of tools like the LSI, OEI, and OCI, you remove the guesswork from prioritization. You will have the main causal factors that will move the needle toward your desired culture. Concentrate on the handful of measures that will create the most impact instead of merely scratching the surface with various initiatives.
- When you plan, test if executing short sprints instead of rolling out a titanic change program adds value. Carve out time in your plan to pause, re-measure, and recalibrate your plan itself.
- Don’t wait until the end to conduct a post-mortem. Make learning an ‘action’ in your action plan by ensuring you will collect and analyze feedback and, more importantly, make time to integrate feedback.
- Clearly lay out your options once you receive and analyze feedback (for example: pivot, persist, or pull the plug) to facilitate decision-making when that time comes.
Ensure that your roadmap for culture change includes actions that get people to truthfully say: “I understand why I need to change, I feel excited/happy/______ (<- your positive emotion goes here) about this change, I feel capable of changing what I am asked to change, and I’m committed to do so”. A clear roadmap of the culture journey will help to ensure success in implementing real and lasting change.