What Role Should Leaders Play During Organisational Culture Transformation?

29 Sep 2021

How successful a cultural transformation will be depends on how willing leaders are to engage with that change.

Do as we say? No.

Follow our lead, as we involve ourselves and you fully in the process? Yes, sure – we want to feel inspired!

Set The Mission

“Why are we changing? What are we heading towards? How can we trust that you’re leading us on the right journey?”

These are questions that people at all levels of your organisation will ask – or are possibly too scared to ask, if your existing culture is one where people are scared to ask questions of their managers and senior leaders.

Every employee has a role to play in successfully changing a company’s culture. But it’s ultimately the leadership team that makes or breaks the transformation.

Leaders need to set out an inspiring and attainable mission, and clearly show the rest of the pathway that leads there. 

A United Front

Transformations can live and die according to how united – or disunited – leadership teams are perceived to be by others internally.

It’s only natural that there’s going to be some push-back on change from those ‘on the shop floor’ and even middle managers – but a small crack in leadership’s unanimity can quickly become a chasm if it’s spotted and prised open by those resistant to change. 

That wince from the Marketing Director when another leader is discussing how the change will work and what the results will be? The CFO inadvertently contradicting something the CEO has said about the way forward? Mixed messages from the Internal Comms team? Any one of these can severely undermine the progress and success of your company’s transformation. 

Which is why it’s so crucial that the leadership team is constantly united and going out to the wider team with the same positive messages. Because, if you – as a leadership team – don’t believe in it, then nor will the people you’re trying to inspire.

Include And Engage Everyone

Regular readers of the Tribe 365 blog and our other communications will be well aware by now of the importance we place in asking everyone – and we mean everyone – whether they agree with the way forward. 

That may sound like you’re putting potential barriers to smooth transformation in place but you’ll actually be saving yourselves time and pain further down the line.

Imagine getting near the end of one stage of a crucial transformation process only for a whole host of people to turn around and say “Sorry, but we don’t understand why we’re doing this” – or, worse, key people handing their notices in because they don’t buy into the change.

Constantly asking people at all levels whether they agree or disagree with the way forward will foster a culture of openness where people will be able to voice their reservations – and, all-importantly, give you and other advocates for change the opportunity to rationally explain why it’s the best thing for everyone.

Also, don’t make people feel as though change is being foisted on them. Make sure you’re always constantly engaging them with joined-up internal communications and constantly inviting them to be part of the conversation. Give them a voice!

Live Those Values

What good will it do asking people to buy into and be part of the change if you and other members of the leadership team simply revert to old ways? None whatsoever. 

And other people in the organisation will soon follow suit, creating an avalanche of the kind of behaviours you’re trying to get rid of.

Be seen to live the values you’re asking others to live by, and practice what you preach when it comes to instilling positive new behaviours.

Company Identity Inextricably Linked With Performance

Constantly remind yourselves, as a leadership team, why you’re driving your cultural transformation.

It’s to improve everything across the organisation, right? Behaviours, outputs, efficiencies and results that lead to higher profitability?

Remember that any company’s identity – its capabilities, processes and practices – are rooted in the way its people think and behave. 

Rotting and outdated behaviours can hold your company back and have a deeply negative impact on performance. 

But introducing coherent, positive and inspiring change that people buy into can make your brand more attractive both to internal stakeholders and customers, and therefore create real business value. 

With the right behaviours, organisations will soon experience positive internal change that leads to greater and more sustainable success.

Successful Organisational Change

Is your organisation’s existing culture undermining team and business performance? 

Tribe 365’s behavioural governance experts help organisations identify and measure behaviours negative prevalent in your organisation – and introduce the right kinds of behaviours to facilitate positive change that lead to great results across the organisation.

Interested in learning how Tribe 365 can help you transform your working culture? Get in touch today via our contact form or on +44 (0) 1325 734 846

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