Tips for Transforming a Company’s Culture
It’s very common for a company’s culture to reflect the prevailing management style. Let’s face it, most individuals tend to hire people who reflect their own style, so this isn’t a surprise. That means if a hiring manager or another leader has certain bad habits, chances are excellent others on team will likewise possess those same or like behaviors. It’s also true that culture doesn’t form overnight. It takes time for a company culture to develop.
As a [business owner] or as a manager, you may have the power to change your organization’s policies with the stroke of a pen. And you may have the ability to hire, fire, promote and demote people with relatively little effort. But changing an entrenched culture is the toughest task you will face. To do so, you must win the hearts and minds of the people you work with, and that takes both cunning and persuasion. —The Wall Street Journal
Once that culture forms, it’s very difficult to change. People become complacent and it takes a significant event to shake that off. It could be a big change in the industry for the worse, losing a lot of money, a sudden shrink in customers, or something else. Great cultures drive productivity and profits. Poor cultures slow productivity and profits. Culture starts with Leadership. So, it’s very important to realize when the culture is toxic and/or when crazy has infiltrated the business. It’s at this juncture you need to take immediate action. Here are some helpful tips for transforming a company’s culture:
- Team-up with an insider. If you are new to the business, team-up with an insider — someone who can give you the details of what’s happened is a very valuable person. Or, if you’re part of a company that’s just gone awry, you still need someone you can trust. A person who gives you confidence you’re getting the straight story. You’ll learn a lot and probably discover different ways to get back on-track.
- Get feedback from team members. Aside from your go-to person, you still need to solicit feedback from the entire team. Encourage people to communicate their experiences and expectations. This is a great way to identify who is and isn’t working out. You’ll know by each person’s input and reactions who is an asset and who is a liability. Then, you can work with individuals to help them improve.
- Define the limits and be extra clear. While getting in-the-loop will provide a lot of valuable information, it’s not going to be a magic bullet. You’ll still need to define boundaries and be very clear on your expectations. Remember the old saying, “To be unclear is to be unkind.” It’s true and will certainly prove as much if you do not define your goals.
- Be bold and take the lead when necessary. What all of this means is, you’ll have to lead by example. You must set the tone day in and day out so everyone has a chance to adjust. Eventually, a new normal, a better culture, will evolve.
Have you taken over an organization and changed its culture? How did you approach the situation? What other tips and tricks do you suggest to change a company’s culture. Please share your thoughts and experiences by leaving a comment.
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