Culture transformation within an organization is perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of reinvigorating a workplace. With the ever evolving corporate environs, it is becoming mandatory for organizations to adapt and transform into an inclusive, high-performance organization. An organization’s culture comprises of an interlocking set of goals, roles, processes, values, communications practices, attitudes and behavioural patterns and assumptions.And all of this goes for a complete overhaul the moment transformation sets in. Transformation requires culture change because radical shifts require leaders and workforce to operate and work together differently to fully realise their benefits. Transformation requires a culture of greater accountability, empowerment, openness, collaboration, innovation and trust.
However, for culture transformation to aptly materialise, behaviour and attitudinal change are the be-all and end-all. Sans behaviour change, no change can be implemented in an organization.
Customer requirement driving cultural transformation
With India being the future knowledge hub, organizations today need to cater to customers globally and as a result they need to measure up to global benchmarks. Customers expect speed and agility, besides speedy delivery and prompt response. Such expectations have been a steering force for organizations to rethink and evaluate their internal culture and initiate the exercise of transformation.
Manufacturing organizations have a unique requirement when it comes to people and work culture at large and deserve to be approached accordingly. While the service sector depends on sheer decision making and agility, manufacturing is a lot about adhering to processes. Both sectors have completely different cultural set-ups. While in service, the workforce is more knowledge based, the workforce in manufacturing is more of skill based. They need to be mentored differently and therein too, one needs to be aware of how the changes are implemented. Not just that, today the manufacturing sector has also come a long way. It caters to global customers and thus the culture change initiated needs to factor in customer-orientation and agility, borrowings from the service sector and behavioural patterns and attitudes need to be moulded accordingly.
Getting the Chinese whisper correct
In manufacturing companies, the grass root level employees need to be made aware of what the customer expects since without focus on the end result, driving innovation would be a challenge. Thus the employee needs to be conditionedto incorporate a far sighted approach and that can happen only through facilitating a change in his outlook, attitude and behaviour. It is behavioural change that can eventually lead to flexibility within the organization and ensure employees adapt to new ways of driving innovation.
The C Cube (C3) approach to Culture Transformation
- Clarify-Craft a “culture proposition” : Culture transformation is a rigorous and complex exercise and needs to be well articulated and communicated effectively. The drive for culture change needs to seep in from the top management in an organization and the decision to implement it has to be factored in at a strategy level. It also needs to be well aligned to the organization’s business goals and objectives along with the long term vision. Clarify values and behaviours which would be consistently exhibited in the organization if you were “living the wanted culture”Clarity of thought and purpose of the top management is mandatory for proper implementation of culture transformation and behaviour change is the name of the game for ensuring smooth culture transformation seeping into an organization.
- Commit-Create “culture navigators” : The entire leadership of an organization needs to be convinced and committed to the change they wish to undertake. Most senior leaders focus on only part of the transformational solution and overlook other critical aspects. Leaders must transform their mind-sets, worldviews and perspectives. Only then can they significantly change their behaviour and style to reduce command and control in favour of promoting greater stakeholder ownership and contribution. Leaders must become more flexible in their style to promote greater innovation, openness and collaboration, all key ingredients to achieving breakthrough results.The idea of implementing transformation of culture in an organization is a lot of practicing what you preach and the top leadership needs to be extremely cognizant of the change they communicate and the behaviour they showcase because that in turn is often emulated.
- Cascade-Charge“culture networks” : Build a momentum and euphoria hype about the culture you want to transform to. Transparent, genuine and consistent communication is needed about your transformation journey and the role of culture so all employees feel part of the process. It is also important to identify champions or culture navigators within the organization who can lead the initiative. Be it communicating the change or steering the initiative or implementing the HR processes, champions who ensure the changes are of utmost necessity. It merits introducing rewards and recognition for those that display behavioural and attitudinal shifts that are positive and that are aligned to the culture transformation prerogatives of the organization. However, to assure people do not go back to patterns that have ceased to exist, one needs to ensure that the commitment is cascaded and monitored at all levels. Clear instances of behaviour and attitudes that are not in tandem with the organization’s transformation need to be approached and addressed with immediacy and employees who display such patterns need to be counselled accordingly. Continuously monitor “employee pulse” as transformation moves forward
Change is often unwelcome since it involves pushing the envelope and moving out of comfort zones. Change is often greeted by widespread scepticism and this is one the foremost and biggest challenge while driving cultural and behavioural change in an organization. What one needs to be also alarmed of is the habit of falling back into the older behavioural patterns since people have a natural tendency to go back to old habits and such instances can sound a death knell to transformation practices. Employees need to be monitored and regulated through various processes and the transformation needs to be well integrated through various processes-be it business, HR or people. All in all, the transformation and thus the behaviour change being driven have to be on the priority list of the company’s leadership.