Changing organizational culture – Why it is so challenging?
A lot of people come to us with these statements which point out that something needs to happen in their organization. They want to do business in another way. It is easier said than done.
By Tone Ringstad, CEO & Founder at Culture Intelligence
It is difficult to change organizational culture when leaders are not able to communicate clearly why they need another culture.
“We need a culture change!”
“We need to change our mindset and attitude.”
A lot of people come to us with these statements which point out that they want something to happen in their organization. They want to do business in another way. It is easier said than done.
Changing Organizational culture demands reprioritization of personal values
Changing Organizational culture is a tremendously interesting request, especially when it comes from leaders down to the organization. Asking people to change culture is asking them to reprioritize their personal values. Let’s say I have three or four values that I find very important in my life. I want to hold on to those four values that have led me to success over the years. Additionally, I am familiar with operating in these values and people recognize me in this way. Those four values have become part of my identity and they are part of who I am and how I work.
Now, you as a leader come to me and say, “We will have a culture change and we have prioritized certain values that should be important to everyone.” I am going to be a skeptic and would seek answers to the following question from my leader: –
- How did you (leader) decide which values are to be prioritized?
- What do those values mean to me?
- What do you want me to do in this culture change?
- Why the change process does not take personal values into account as to what is important to the company in the future?
- What is the new culture based on?
This is where leaders have a hard time onboarding people in the organizational culture change process. If the change process does not take into account that I have my personal values, I will perceive it as some sort of challenge to the way I operate.
You as a leader should help me understand the whole process, elaborate on why those values were chosen, how is this different from the way I operate now, and make me feel that I am part of what you see in the future.