“Culture eats strategy for breakfast”
To be successful, a revised business strategy requires vision, transformation and employee engagement. Transformation, or cultural change, is the hardest to achieve and engagement depends on it entirely.
Have you ever found yourself sitting up at 1 am watching that shark documentary again, despite a 5 am alarm call for an important morning meeting?
If so, you are not alone. It’s human nature to continue doing what we are currently doing, despite knowing perfectly well it may be to our cost. It’s called human stasis.
For example, it’s widely accepted that most families could save thousands per year if they changed their behaviour, eliminated waste and shopped around more for their utilities and other essential requirements. Despite the ease of doing so on comparison websites, many don’t, and the providers’ profits are dependent on this irrational aversion to change.
“Watermelons frequently go from shop to fridge to bin.”
In business, collective resistance to change amplifies the problem and it’s the biggest barrier to the successful implementation of a new, exciting and often essential strategy.
You may have a clear business objective, a perfect corporate vision and an insight-driven strategy to achieve that, but if your people aren’t engaged and willing to accept change, it will likely fail to achieve the desired results.
So, what can be done to effect organisational cultural transformation?
It is the synthesis of three elements:
- Your organisation must have the essential tools, systems, and processes in place to underpin and enable the desired change.
- Those leading the organisation must be visibly passionate about the need for change and its importance for the future of the business.
- As that passion propagates through your organisation, behavioural change can then be encouraged through training, capability development, coaching, and mentoring.
One final thought … in 1998, Blockbuster could have acquired Netflix for $50m. Today, Neflix has a market cap of $137bn and Blockbuster is nowhere to be seen. Resistance to change can be deadly.
John Cockburn-Evans is professional “business declutterer” and “lean” machine. He is an expert international consultant and coach with over 25 years’ experience in a range of industries.