Once consensus has been established about the business situation (easier said than done sometimes), there are models and steps for how to go about change management. Creating a vision to help direct the change effort, and developing clear strategies for achieving that vision, are central to successful change. This means you are obligated to remove obstacles to change for those people who are working with you on the team and at different levels in the organization.
This increased credibility must be utilized to change systems, structures, and policies that don’t fit the vision. The connections between the new behaviors and organizational success must be articulated, and these changes must be institutionalized. In fact, one of the most challenging things I have found is to note ad hominem attacks and try to progress beyond them.
I recommend a data-driven approach, in general, where people are educated in their data and the data are not personally assignable. This focus on data makes for a situation which is not often encountered in Medicine; yet, when we do attain it, it is truly magical.
I really enjoy helping groups in healthcare see that not all changes or improvements need come by confrontation or finger pointing. Functional systems based on data which run smoothly often alleviate the need for frustration, conflict, and other issues. Last, please remember: even if you know the steps, practice them, and work to create positive business situations these change situations are challenging and high risk.
This blog was set up under the title a€?Culture Change.a€? It seems there is a general consensus that cultural change must take place in news organisations. The greatest challenge presented by digitalisation is how to increase the agility and innovative strength of an organisation. In an attempt to bring together previous experience and knowledge of this area, I have identified five ways in which cultural change has to happen and have outlined them below. The downside to this is that such organisations find it very difficult to start innovating.
The digital world is developing rapidly, and digital experts tend to be highly independent personalities. This may sound trivial on the face of it, but there are far too many organisations and managers out there who subscribe to a very different mindset.
Members of management formulate targets, but allow for freedom in choosing how these are achieved, and in decision-making.
A former editor-in-chief once said, a€?A good editorial team must function like a dictatorship.a€? This sounds pretty far removed from an organisational structure based on the network principle. And last but not least, the digital experts of today simply do not want to work within a hierarchy. Experts and specialists carry out a direct exchange with one another instead of via hierarchical levels. A person's status is not dictated by his or her position within the hierarchy, but according to his or her expertise in the matter at hand. This also applies in news companies to the rightfully cultivated division between the newsroom and the business units a€” something that was dealt with in detail in the New York Times Innovation Report. When developing digital journalistic products in particular, collaboration between editors, software developers and marketing experts is urgently needed.
Colleagues from other divisions can be contacted along uncomplicated and direct channels of communication. Employees orient themselves towards the overall interests of the company and the customer and not towards the interests of the department. Everyone in the organisation has a strong sense of community and identifies strongly with the company. The workplace is designed to provide opportunities for encounters, uncomplicated exchange, and co-working.
In the era of the connected world, having an information advantage is becoming increasingly rare. Todaya€™s working ethos demands more transparency and an attitude of partnership from managers.
Checks are not carried out as to what information can be disseminated freely, A but rather concerning what information actually needs to be protected. People who possess knowledge and experts are visible and approachable; they can be brought into processes without too much red tape. There is a general awareness that knowledge is often personalised and often cannot be expatiated or codified.
The urgent need to change the corporate culture at media companies to attract and retain platform-agile employees has spawned new initiatives and new methods to promote innovation and transformation.
Is there an organizational culture assessment instrument to help identify and define your company’s core culture? Organizational culture assessments are used to identify the principles and values that are core to the culture of an organization. Is there an organizational culture assessment instrument to help you define your organization’s foundational principles and values? I wish the answer was yes, but the truth is no generic instrument will capture your organization’s distinctive culture. So what do you do if no generic organizational culture assessment instrument can give you the unique description of your organization’s personality and character? Rather than a generic survey, a process is needed that extracts the principles and values that uniquely define your organization’s core culture. Step Two: Next, construct and implement a closed-ended customized survey based on the information gathered in Step One. Step Three: Finally, conduct a facilitated session with the leadership team to review all the information collected and make decisions on the core culture. Using this process, you will define your organization’s core culture, share it with everyone in the organization and begin the ongoing journey of aligning all practices and projections with the core culture. Sustainability is a commitment to ethical behavior in three areas of responsibility: economic, social, and environmental. First, sustainability must be accepted as a core principle guiding the organization (either part of the organization’s Purpose, Philosophy or Priorities). If sustainability is the organization’s Philosophy, then it is a distinctive value of the organization that has endured over the years that guides how employees do their work. If sustainability is a strategic Priority of the organization, then it is a goal that the organization wants to focus on and pay attention to in order to be competitive and thrive. Then, the value must be infused in the Internal Practices of the organization–guiding employee interactions and how they do their work. Additionally, sustainability must be infused in the External Practices of the organization–meaning that sustainability guides the products and services provided by the organization as well as serves as a guiding principle for selecting customers, vendors and business partners.
Without viewing sustainability through the Five Ps, the value of sustainability may be seen as a fragmented add-on having limited impact–rather than a value that is core to the organization and embedded in all the Practices and Projections of it. At the very center, which is shaded in the image below, is the core culture–the Purpose, Philosophy and Priorities. Use this organizational change model as a simple tool to understand the different facets of your organization and guide change. The Building a Culture of Distinction program is a four-step organizational change process.
Build on that identity-??defining foundation by establishing the strategic Priorities that will enable your organization to compete and thrive.
Audit your Internal and External Practices and Projections to evaluate their alignment with the Core Culture–the Purpose, Philosophy, and Priorities. Develop a Core Culture Alignment Plan to improve alignment of Practices and Projections with the Core Culture. Execute the plan to weave the Core Culture principles throughout the organization so everyone lives by the principles that will generate success. Although the organizational culture assessment questions are designed to reveal particular attributes of the Core Culture, you will find that the responses are not always clear cut.
Below are some organizational culture assessment questions to consider asking employees in your process for conducting an organizational culture assessment. An organizational culture assessment is a process for defining and shaping the culture of your company.
If you’ve never conducted an organizational culture assessment, now is the time to consider it.
Option 3: This option works well in a relatively small organization where employees will feel comfortable sharing their views openly.
Option 4: If the organization has fewer than 25 employees, you might consider conducting a Core Culture Assessment Workshop with all employees. An organization that has not taken the time to define its core culture principles lacks a clearly-defined identity.

When things are not going well—for example, good employees are leaving, commitment seems lacking, productivity is not up to par—an organization needs to make some changes. When you incorporate change through a culture-defining and alignment process, the organization clarifies the desired values, reviews current practices, and creates a plan for more effectively living those core culture principles.
The purpose is the cause that defines the contribution an organization makes to society through its work. A purpose statement is a few, crucial words that inspire and motivate employees who care about making that contribution. Take the time to unite employees around the organizational purpose so that work is more than daily tasks.
For example, if you’re a hotel that projects an image of great service, and customers rave about your service, that’s alignment. Southwest has much to consider as they merge with AirTran, but reflecting on their organizational identity might be something at the top of the list.
Since FDR took office, the public expects big things from a President during the first 100 days of office. Yet, during this time period Presidents must also grapple with filling all the positions in the administration, learning how to utilize the massive bureaucracy favorably, and navigating through the complicated process of getting Congress to comply with their proposals. At the same time, now is when we have the most potential to make positive changes in the world simply because we have little to lose. BU is commemorating Martin Luther King Day this year by discussing whether or not an individual has the ability to change the world.
This can be a short timeline until a quality review or some event that is important to the organization. This is key to give the team something to work towards and to give the team something to achieve. Again, if there is no administrative support from you from your colleagues in administration, or if you don’t communicate the vision, then people are unlikely to understand and accept the roadmap for the future. In short, this goes back to the classic idea that you must make it easier to act in the way that change effort requires people to act. Your hiring, promotion, and development of employees must be such that those who can implement the vision are brought along. There must be a means to ensure succession in leadership roles so that these changes become commonplace and are reinforced. In fact, the lean six sigma statistical process control pathway satisfies each of these steps in a positive way that allows us to avoid taking issues with each other or personal attacks. Fortunately I have not been in this situation often, but let me say this can be a real challenge especially in a failed change effort or in difficult organizations…and, of course, despite our best efforts most change efforts fail. This prevents finger pointing and allows us to make data driven decisions which are reproducible, transparent, and may be followed over time to gauge improvement. Sometimes I see my colleagues in Medicine reinventing tools that have names and are well utilized in other fields. Often, in different service lines in Medicine, it is too often the case that staff attribute issues to personal defects rather than system defects. However, what exactly this means and what exactly should change is often not quite as clear. In an industry in which research and development (R&D) departments are practically unknown, survival nowadays means developing the digital news products of the future. Therefore, if they want to turn innovation into an integral part of their culture, it is vital that they develop a culture of experimentation in which trial and error is explicitly wanted a€” and where errors are not seen as failures.
From control to trust: The leadership or management culture is one of the most important catalysts within a corporate culture. The job of managers, of people in leadership positions, is to create the ideal environment for an expert team to work in.
From hierarchy to a fast-paced network: When an organisation changes from a steeply-sloped pyramid to a flat network, this is primarily a question of structure and organisation. When it comes to putting decisions into practice and to fulfilling established work tasks, a hierarchy is often more efficient. From silos to interdisciplinary collaboration: Most companies are trapped in pretty rigid departmental structures, and these often stand in the way of communication, slow down decision-making processes, and impair cooperation. From information politics to transparency: Of course, in the world of news, exclusive journalistic information still remains a fundamentally precious good.
Decisions and innovations come into being far more quickly when there is a free flow of information. Tilmann Knoll is head of management development at Axel Springer, based in Berlin, Germany. INMA's Culture Change blog captures best practices of media companies aiming to change their corporate culture a€“ and the stories and lessons behind them.
If you are planning to conduct an assessment, what organizational culture assessment instrument or process do you use? There are a number of instruments that say they define culture, but in reality, it’s not your distinctive principles and values that these instruments measure. If you don’t identify and define your valued beliefs, how can you be sure employees will be striving each day to be the best at practicing these prime principles? Sometimes focus groups, using a cross-section of employees, are also helpful to see how others throughout the organization define the organization’s guiding principles. Any confusion that employees have about the Purpose or Philosophy of the organization will cause tension, uncertainty, and even fear.
You can use this model to understand your organizational culture and to use culture to manage change. The diagram below shows examples of Internal Practices, External Practices, and Projections.
This is not a project; instead, it is a new way to view your organization and embed change, as needed, rather than at specified periods. During interviews, be sure to ask follow-up questions to enrich the information you collect. Often, using a slightly different word or phrase in a question will yield either confirming or new, insightful responses. The outcome is a well-defined set of Core Culture principles and values (the vital Purpose, the distinctive Philosophy, and the strategic Priorities) that center the organization and provide the criteria for all employee practices. This comprehensive culture-defining process requires the support of a consultant with this specialty.
First, conduct a Core Culture Assessment Workshop with the leadership team using the Building a Culture of Distinction workbooks. But when employees participate in defining and molding the culture to enhance the organization’s ability to succeed, then the changes that emerge are easier to implement. Let change management really be a process of defining your core culture, auditing your Practices and Projections, and executing a plan to live the core culture principles and values better each and every day.
Work should be viewed as a contribution to society and a source of meaning for each employee.
When the image that a company projects to consumers is consistent with both the customer experience and the values of the company, you have alignment.
Or, if you’re a hospital that touts an image of safety, and patients observe and experience superior safety practices while staying at your hospital, you have alignment.
It has a reputation for delivering great service and having a fun-loving attitude, but Southwest also has a reputation for low fares. If you compute those benefits, it might explain why a higher ticket is not really higher when you add up all the charges.
It is a time that the President typically has a strong public backing and, more often than not, a unified government to work with.
It’s a difficult job to adjust to and when they finally start to have it under control they are faced with midterm elections and a Congress that is less willing to bend to their demands. She loves when people tell her about themselves- the real things- the things that are deep.
I was born in Brazil but moved to Argentina as a 5-year-old and then to the USA as an 8-year-old. John Kotter, previously a Harvard Business School Professor, developed these 8 steps in part to help articulate why change efforts fail and to better improve our numbers with respect to successful change efforts.
Articulating this change as a vision is key and this must be represented by both how you act and what you say.
That is, you remove barriers to people acting in the way they need to act for the change to occur. Whatever the short terms wins are, these must be visible and these must be followed through with people receiving recognition and reward in a way that gets noticed. It is useful at this point to demonstrate that the new way is superior to the old with data. Incidentally, one of the things I have noticed in change efforts is that what are called ad hominem attacks may abound.

If you can get the culture to respond to data rather than personal attacks, the team can improve over time in a meaningful way. Some of these are utilized in the lean six sigma toolset, which is mostly a pre-established pathway to use these advanced statistical process controls for quality improvement and culture change. To achieve this, organisations must attract digital experts who have up until now shown very little interest in them and create an environment capable of retaining such experts once they are on board. How members of management conduct themselves in a digital and agile organisation must be founded more strongly on trust than on control. However, even flat hierarchies have to be accepted and lived by the people involved in them. However, when it comes to bottom-up feedback and innovations, and to finding new ways of doing things, a network promises greater success. The a€?power through informationa€? that management once enjoyed is disappearing, even vis-A -vis their employees. Instead, they offer a set of pre-determined values that are used to gauge a description of your organization. You can learn more about the types of organizational culture assessment questions to ask at this link.
Now is the time for all employees to reveal how they view the organization’s principles and values—by reacting to the options on this customized survey.
Sustainable organizations create value and long-term stability while contributing to society at large. When these few attributes change, employees will need to re-consider if the workplace is right for them because identity changes are like changing the company. A trained professional has an outside view of the company which is often clearer than the perspective of a company employee. It will experience inadequate performance and unattained goals. In successful organizations, employees are united in shared principles. Contact me for information on the best way to conduct an organizational culture assessment for your organization. Unless the remedy is clear, rather than making isolated changes, the smarter strategy is to examine the culture of the organization.
Any behaviors that are not in sync with the core values are seen as a gap that must quickly be remedied.
The purpose of the organization is not the answer to the question “What does the organization do?” That typically focuses on products, services and customers. Through their firm’s work, employees can make a difference and be part of a meaningful legacy. Your purpose should use words that are meaningful to employees and appropriate for your organization.
Yet, according to a Wall Street Journal article, the average ticket price for a Southwest flight has been climbing and in some markets, a Southwest flight is higher than its competitors.
But for the customer who either does not check baggage or have to pay for checked baggage (due to frequent flyer status or the credit card used) and for the person who rarely changes their flight plans, this explanation does not justify a higher ticket price. When you change the essence of who you are as an organization, it has an impact on your customers and your employees. Otherwise, you will have a confused identity that can negatively impact employee engagement, customer satisfaction and your reputation.
With unpaid internships, it matters less if we get fired than if we are visible public figures or high-level executives accustomed to a certain lifestyle. Being sure that people around you understand the importance of the event and feel the urgency without being overly anxious is key. If you find yourself where there are clear issues and yet you do not have administrative support (or are not able to enlist it) it is likely you have a nonstarter for change management.
This is supported by the quality control literature and I have often noticed that poor systems may set up physicians and healthcare providers for confrontation amongst themselves. We always enjoy hearing and learning about change management across different organizations.
Most organisational cultures tend to focus on optimising current processes and on avoiding mistakes at any cost. When we attended the Stanford Design School during our Silicon Valley visit, a sign caught our attention. This represents a real challenge for editorial teams in particular, who are used to working in strong hierarchies.
Experts and employees further down the ladder often come up with ideas or innovations, but these do not find their way through the hierarchy.
Faced with increasingly complex and fast-changing product diversity, it is becoming ever more difficult to manage the challenges this brings forth and develop new solutions if you have a functionally one-dimensional approach. However, when it comes to the internal workings of a news organisation, information barriers get in the way.
No generic instrument is going to capture the language and terminology that insiders use and understand as their guiding Philosophy. Build your Culture of Distinction by defining your distinctive character and practicing the principles that drive success. The Five Ps model illustrates how the value of sustainability can be viewed systemically in order to be effectively integrated in an organization. It will feel like a different place–especially to loyal employees who were connected to it. But the Priorities can change as the strategy changes and as new areas are identified for employees to focus on and pay attention to.
Workshop participants will use the Building a Culture of Distinction: Participant Workbook. Instead, the Purpose is the answer to the question, “Why is the work of this company important?” This may sound like a simple question, but in its simplicity, lies tremendous significance for the organization and for each employee. When an organizational purpose is meaningful to an employee, that person feels a connection to work that is not only rational—it’s also emotional. The purpose statement is brief so employees can remember it and use it to guide their daily actions.
Then, let everyone respond to a collection of options to see the statement that best conveys the fundamental reason why the company exists. Southwest price increases have been due to fuel prices (no more fuel hedges), longer flights and new ways for pricing tickets. We will improve in our abilities to be persuasive and pinpoint what exactly we should change to achieve the results we covet.
That is, they erect barriers to acting in the current mode to create enough friction that people must favor the newer, easier pathway to which barriers have been removed. Keeping information to yourself in order to use it to your own advantage when the opportunity arises is not expedient and in many cases no longer possible.
You must understand the differences between a Philosophy and a Priority so that you classify the response in the most appropriate attribute category. Next, triangulate the data with a closed-ended survey (based on the analyzed data) for all employees. Next, collect views from all employees through a closed-ended survey (based on the core culture options that came from conducting the workshop). Additionally, the purpose statement is broad in scope to allow the organization to adapt over time to a changing world while keeping a constant, consistent central focus. Likewise, if the organizational identity is not going to change, that should also be communicated as quickly as possible.
Then, conduct a facilitated session with the leadership team to review data collection results and decide the Core Culture. Then, conduct a follow-up facilitated session with the leadership team to review the closed-ended survey results and decide the Core Culture. It can be even harder when a change agent has clinical decision making, technical prowess, or other professional, patient care skills questioned as part of an ad hominem attack. Think of your company as a living entity; it is a vehicle for improving individual lives, and the world we live in. It requires a recognition that it does not happen overnight and that we may have to keep trying our entire lifetime.
Stay calm, and think of how good it will look when the situation is successful, or, failing that, leave if the situation becomes threatening either personally or professionally.

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