Leaders know that change is constant, and that building flexibility into their organizations and strengthening adaptive skills at all levels are a must. In a world where the set of expectations that people hold about their relationship to work has shifted toward engagement, growth, and making an individual impact, leading change requires creativity in enlisting others to advance the work together.
Defining the change involves understanding the desired direction and impact of the new shift, and then socializing this set of ideas with a close-in group of influential, passionate advocates. Seldom are great ideas created and advanced successfully by one person alone without critical input from other knowledgeable contributors.
Every organizational change – small or big, effects organizational culture and the culture is what fundamentally shapes organizational success, innovation, and engagement. Leaders reinforce cultural norms and behaviors every day, whether intentionally or not, and can play a critical role in shaping their organization’s culture—and thereby performance while change is on. Simply put, culture is made up of the rules and assumptions for getting work done – the beliefs, working agreements, and tangible behaviors that guide and motivate people at work. You can identify culture, and – with some focus and determination – you can change it.
When consulting, I work together with my clients as my partners and it results in transformational change that moves companies toward better performance, while sustaining their distinctive culture and values. When consulting my clients to lead culture change from the top down and the bottom up – diagnosing cultural challenges, thinking creatively about how to create culture by design and respecting differences and the value that they create. My approach to culture change provides clients with a clear point of view of their cultural aspirations and where culture may be holding them back, a plan to implement change, and an understanding of where change is progressing and where more focus is needed.
It is important that the consulting approach to organizational change is strategic yet opportunistic, organized but flexible. It focuses on practice (what people actually do, not what they say, is what will get results), passion (engaging people’s passion creates change that sticks), and pull (“pushing” change is ineffectual—and when you stop pushing, the changes stall).
It is not new that change is not a static or one-off process and that’s why is so crucial to change balances immediate needs with a look to the longer-term horizon, tackling specific aims within the context of the greater whole.