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Cultural Transformation

"Culture is everything" Lou Gerstner, former CEO of IBM

Corporate culture is one of the major sources of competitive advantage in a world that is constantly changing, filled with uncertainty, ambiguity, disruption and chaos.

The wrong organisational culture can severely impede your organisation’s performance, agility, adaptability and competitiveness at every level.

The right culture, on the other hand, tailored to drive and support your organisation’s specific needs, style, strategy, business model, vision and purpose, not only enhances and accelerates your current business, but also enables your people to adapt, innovate and respond rapidly to the emerging future in a way that competitors find difficult to emulate or match. And that gives you a distinct advantage.

Research consistently demonstrates that a strong, positive organisational culture significantly improves performance, productivity, profit, and shareholder value.

Cultural change is not so difficult – if you use the right process

Every organisation has a culture. Whether it is the right culture for the organisation’s success is another issue entirely.

Organisations that proactively re-shape their culture, integrated with a powerful vision, purpose, values and style that inspire and empower their people, develop an almost unassailable advantage, an ability to shape the market and industry, and the agility to rapidly exploit emerging trends ahead of their competitors.

Cultural change is often said to be difficult, take a long time, and be very expensive. That need not be the case. As with most things, there are many hard ways to do it, and a few easy ways. It all depends on the process or methodology.

With the right process, fine-tuning, re-shaping or transforming your organisation’s culture can deliver, dollar for dollar, far better innovation, performance, profits, growth and shareholder value than almost any other single initiative.

And that’s where Spandah’s Cultural Change Process makes the difference.

The process for change must immediately provide a different experience

In cultural change initiatives, process is key.

Successful cultural change involves a shift in both mindset and behaviour. It requires a different way of perceiving, thinking, being, communicating and relating, which leads to a different way of doing things.

That won’t happen unless the process for generating and embedding change is seen - and experienced by people throughout the organisation - to be different from the existing culture. Otherwise it will seem like ‘the same old thing, nothing has changed’.

If it is to succeed, the methodology by which the shift is generated requires the following elements:

  • a simple structure and be process-driven, designed to be dynamic, non-linear and able to rapidly adapt and accelerate as the change gains traction

  • within three months of commencement gain buy-in, involvement and commitment of the leadership team and also of key people throughout the organisation

  • enable the organisation to seamlessly shift to higher levels of performance as the culture begins to take a new shape and energy

  • model the changes that are being sought, e.g. if the new culture is to be collaborative and able to adapt rapidly to emerging trends, the change process must provide a direct, tangible experience of those new behaviours and mindsets

  • enable the changes to emerge naturally from within the organisation, not imposed on the organisation

  • be iterative – allowing for a degree of uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity from which the process can rapidly learn and accelerate the change

  • provide a different way of perceiving, thinking, being, communicating and relating that leads to a different way of doing things

  • empower people throughout the organisation to design, execute and integrate the changes, behaviours and mindsets in ways that are relevant, tangible and practical in everyday work activities

  • build and sustain energy and momentum for change.

It then becomes possible to generate cultural shifts faster, with less effort, and at less cost, because the culture and operations change and accelerate in synergy. Only then will there be a likelihood of successful cultural change that can drive and underpin substantial organisational transformation.

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