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Saturday, July 29, 2017

It's the Way We Have Always Done It!!!!! - Changing the Cultural Norms

In the past few weeks I have been pondering how to change cultural norms.  I have quite a few clients that reach out and explain that the business they work for is consistently doing the same thing, over and over again, not rendering any different results.  They advise when on projects or initiative they always hear comments like: "this is the way we have always done it!" It appears that no one wants to change that way of thinking, or if you try, there is a TON of resistance.  A lot of these issues revolve around the culture of the organization.  Cultures are really hard easy to build, but really had to change once they are engrained and permeated throughout the organization.

Here are some things to consider as you work toward cultural changes:

  1. Timing - it takes some time to change a culture.  It's not something that is changed over night.  Take a moment to understand this reality.  Take a moment to understand that not everyone is going to agree with you that there is even a problem, especially if they are a main contributor to the problem.  Understand it make take 3 times as long, or longer,  to change the culture than it took to build it.  It's going to require patience and perseverance.
  2. Identification - identify the concerns causing the issues in the organization.  Also outline what those issues are hindering, the risks, and external and internal experience these issues cause.
  3. Recommendations - once you have identified the issues ensure you have some recommendations, or solutions, to bring to the table.  Think about how the culture can be changed in the best interest of everyone, and demonstrate tangible positive results if the culture is changed. 
  4. Alliances - understand who the main influencers are in the organization to help in changing the culture.  You will not be able to change the culture on your own.  You will need to clearly articulate, with examples, the areas of concerns and the impact.  In order to be successful you cannot do this on your own.  You need people who will support you, but you need individuals who have the right influence to help execute the change.  This requires you to take time to network and build some strong relationships.  In order to do this you will need to do some observing and researching.
  5. Model The Behavior - in order for change to come it must start with YOU.  It's important to model the behavior you wish to see.  If you don't you can come off as a hypocrite and that is not the perception you want.  Regardless of how tough the cultural change may be continue to model the behavior you wish to see.  Actions speak louder than words.

Signing off until next month,

The BA Martial Artist