Cultural Change is most effective when organizations understand their current and desired culture states. Management by objectives and benchmark measurements are common features of successful cultural change programs.
One way that you can achieve the desired state is with an in depth understanding of the culture with two steps in the life cycle of a 'top-down' cultural change initiative. It starts with a definition of the culture you are trying to build. The culture audit is repeated across the change states of Awareness, Interest, Knowledge, Action and Reinforcement.
The importance of follow up
Most change initiatives fail. In fact over 90% meet with very limited or no success. The most important feature of successful cultural change is the a commitment to continuous follow-up and visible sponsorship by senior leadership.
It is critical to engage employees, to make them feel both empowered and motivated to drive real and tangible change. A key measure of success in a culture change program is the willingness to change.
- A cultural audit can influence the change process - 'if you measure it, you change it'. The most important measure of change is customer feedback on the service provided - this provides a significant benchmark and motivation for change across all levels of management and staff.
- Changing people in influential positions can have an effect on the culture - but their personalities and approach need to be 'different' to the existing culture. They also need to be encouraged in bringing a fresh approach, or else it might be their behaviour that changes (by conforming) rather than the culture.