The impact of cultural transformation on change programmes

Industry leader reveals what companies need to do to foster modern organisational cultures

Consciously or not, many organisations are dealing with cultural transformations impacting the way we work: the pandemic caused a huge shift in thinking just by forcing workplace flexibility, but it’s important that wider sociological considerations are more actively recognised, too.

There needs to be more proactivity in fostering more modern, progressive organisational cultures, but teams should develop programmes of change that are directly associated with the organisational values and purpose. For example, a Product Management focused delivery framework that uses agile techniques will deliver iterative change against customer value streams.

Whilst organisational cultural change is being more actively embedded, business transformation programmes are expected to speed up and deliver more. For example, Lloyd’s Bank has claimed that the UK made five years of progress in digital engagement in 2020. Still, most organisations don’t have the tools and technology to meet those needs, so change programmes need to be implemented quicker to meet consumer and commercial needs. Otherwise, they risk falling behind and being overtaken by new market entrants.

So, what do teams need to do? All teams need the time to:

1.     Understand and adapt to organisational values to ensure any cultural shifts contribute to progressing the organisation (which often aligns with improving the delivery of change outcomes anyway).

2.     Understand and adapt to delivery methods and structure changes while still meeting change programmes’ expected timescales and, most importantly, outcomes (which is more complex, as while time is the priority, it doesn’t enable employees to react effectively to changing behavioural considerations).

But how? Here are seven key tips:

1.     Take best practice methods/models as a reference point but adapt them to your business.

2.     Ensure your teams are mixed ability: combining experienced teams with those who are less experienced will demonstrate what great looks like.

3.     Onboard a third-party organisation where required, as they can help to play an objective part in embedding change by coaching teams to understand how they can change for the better.

4.     Give people time to learn, reflect on successes, and make improvements as required.

5.     Create a culture for feedback and ensure active participation from senior management to allow a feedback loop for continuous improvements.

6.     Accept that it will take time, but it’s worth it. By embedding all of this, benefits may be delayed, but it creates a long-term foundation for more sustainable changes.

7.     Communicate with humility and vulnerability: support curiosity, a willingness to participate, and a more engaged organisation that will advocate for change and progression. As a result, you will be able to attract and recruit better candidates in an already tough recruitment market.

Companies that are proactive and progressive will yield the most results. The world we live in is constantly changing, and shifting the world of work can be relatively simple if these steps are followed.

By Mike Quate, Associate Director at Axiologik

In this article, you learned that:

  • Cultural changes are not just workplace flexibility – social considerations need to be recognised
  • For a company to progress, it must understand and adapt to organisational values and cultural shifts
  • Enable feedback to ensure participation from senior management for continuous improvements

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