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The Manager's Pocket Guide to Corporate Culture Change

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In order to achieve desired transformation in corporate culture, leaders must take a logical and systematic approach to change. The most successful change programs begin with a statement of shared values. Beginning with values ensures that the entire organization puts purpose before action. The Manager's Pocket Guide to Corporate Culture Change provides the essential methods for mobilizing people behind these shared values. It teaches the skills to empower people within defined parameters, the type of support they require for success, and the best ways to recognize individual and team contributions. It also reviews the basic tenets for developing people, creating a learning organization, and provides practical methods for aligning the culture behind the business strategy in order to manage the change. The Manager's Pocket Guide to Corporate Culture Change is easy-to-read, engaging, and interactive. Each skill has an introduction, an overview, the basic idea, an illustration, and an opportunity for the reader to apply the skill.

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Introduction and Overview

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Introduction and Overview

Introduction and Overview

Changing corporate culture cannot be a random activity.

Leaders must take a logical and systematic approach to change in order to achieve desired results. While much has been written about the Seven Ss (shared values, strategy, structure, staff, systems, skill, style) depicted in the graphic below, we have found that most organizations do not follow a prescribed order. Some organizations attempt to renew their organizations through restructuring efforts. Others try to renew themselves through intensive skill training programs or educational seminars on style preferences and differences.

From our experience, we have found that the most successful change programs start with a statement of shared values. Starting with values ensures that the entire organization puts purpose before action. Then, effective organizations articulate well-developed strategies to accomplish the purpose. With well-defined values and a clearly articulated strategy, it is possible to make intelligent decisions about structure, staff, systems, skills, and style requirements, and to create a high purpose, high performance organization.

 

Task I. Maximizing Commitment

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Corporate Culture Change

Task I.

Maximizing Commitment

Key Ingredients:

• Interdependent contract

• Inspiring visions

Critical Skills:

1. Mobilize people behind the values and vision

2. Empower people to control their work and life

3. Recognize individual and team contributions

We often hear organizations talk about people as the most valuable and valued asset, but we rarely see a consistent set of actions and initiatives that support those statements.

In most organizations, that phrase is simply an empty slogan that causes more cynicism than commitment.

The unspoken contract between organizations and employees that once existed has been irrevocably breached. Downsizing, delayering, and restructuring within companies coupled with mergers and acquisitions between companies have profoundly changed the relationship between employee and employer.

In the book Ethical Leadership (Bellingham and Cohen,

1990), a series of five-point rating scales lets employers and employees assess their current relationship and identify possibilities for maximizing commitment. The scale for employee development is as follows:

 

Task II. Building Capacity

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Task II. Building Capacity

Task II.

Building Capacity

Key Ingredients:

• Customer focus

• People, products, processes, and technologies

Critical Skills:

4. Develop people

5. Create a learning organization

An organization may have the most committed people in the world, but capacity is still required to be successful.

Building capacity means developing the people, products, processes and technologies to achieve customer growth.

Capacity development must be customer focused.

Capacity-building efforts should ensure that processes are efficient and effective; that products meet customer requirements in timely ways; and that people have the skills, technology, and personal energy they need to do their jobs in the most effective ways. It is important to identify the technology appropriate for the task and provide proper training.

Capacity can be built on several levels. For mechanical capacity, an organization needs to have the hardware, equipment and tools to produce its product and provide services efficiently and effectively.

 

Task III. Aligning the Culture

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Task III. Aligning the Culture

Task III.

Aligning the Culture

Key Ingredients:

• Norms, values, rituals and assumptions

• The organizational unconscious

Critical Skills:

6. Articulate the cultural requirements for success

7. Create a cultural revolution

Managing corporate culture change has emerged as a top priority for most business leaders. Cultural norms, values and rituals are being increasingly recognized as the key factors that either enhance or retard change and renewal initiatives. Indeed, if corporate culture is not compatible with business strategies, hopes for success and growth are dim.

For many leaders, corporate culture change seems so esoteric and “soft” that deciding to shape it, manage it or change it seems overwhelming. This section will help to demystify the notion of corporate culture change.

Anthropologists and other social scientists have long studied the dynamics of culture in the everyday lives of people. As readers of National Geographic and viewers of international news reports, we have been fascinated, sometimes perplexed, and occasionally horrified by the vast array of customs, traditions, world views and norms that define the different human cultures around the globe.

 

Task IV. Managing Change

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Task IV. Managing Change

Task IV.

Managing Change

Key Ingredients:

• Dealing with the fact that things are not, and may never be, what they were

Critical Skills:

8. Promote understanding

9. Facilitate acceptance of what cannot be changed

10. Enable change

Introduction

In the first three tasks of this book—Maximizing Commitment, Building Capacity and Aligning the Culture—you have explored and understood many changes you will need to make in order to renew your organization and compete successfully in a global economy. To the extent that you implement the action plans you have developed for your organizations, these changes will have significant implications for you and for the people in your organization. In this last task on changing corporate culture, you will learn the skills you need to help yourself and your people manage these cultural and skill changes successfully.

Several of the most consequential changes introduced in this book relate to the demands of moving to technologyenabled virtual work and/or e-commerce. In a virtual world, there are different rules, different assumptions and different values. People are also faced with the need to navigate the global workplace in which there are different times, different languages and different technologies.

 

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