Out With the Old, in With the New
Culture change is a long, arduous process. Changing an existing culture is much more difficult than establishing a brand-new culture. Discarding the old values and behaviors, and instilling new ones is a hard task. Managers must ensure that new customs and processes take hold, being watchful of the tendency to slide back into old habits.
Because culture is formed over time and incorporates habit and convenience, it is often not addressed for potential change until a crisis occurs. However, a time of crisis is not the ideal time to implement organizational culture change.
Instead, if an organization evaluates existing culture and recognizes that there are areas for improvement, culture change can be implemented in a proactive, well-considered manner. When implemented with care and consideration, the changed culture can be rolled out according to a complete plan, prioritized and reinforced, and periodically re-evaluated to ensure that it is in line with long-term company strategy.
Leadership Development Effects Culture Change
Culture is dependent on behavior, and behavior is dependent on training. A comprehensive leadership development program can ensure that a culture shift is communicated clearly, and is visibly supported and reinforced by top management. Leadership development enhances the entire team’s effectiveness and connects fundamental business goals to the implementation of long-term strategies.
One recent, high-profile example of failed culture change is that of Yahoo, a corporation was already experiencing difficulties when Marisa Meyer stepped in as CEO in 2013. Not only was Yahoo’s business in decline, but the company was also widely regarded to have a toxic, dysfunctional corporate culture and had experienced leadership failures with successive CEOs.
To change the culture at Yahoo, Meyer recruited new employees for leadership positions, improved compensation structures, and introduced suggestion programs and bureaucracy reduction initiatives.
However, these initiatives largely failed. Employees who had been burned by previous leadership failures were reluctant to buy into the new initiatives, and without training and reinforcement at all levels of the company, Meyer’s initiatives were doomed to failure.
To succeed, change needs to be disseminated from uppermost levels of management and reinforced at all levels until it takes hold and supplants previous behaviors.
Working with CorpU, the Thayer Leader Development Group at West Point rolled out Leadership Development Sprints that develop leaders’ capacity to build trust, develop strong connections among team members, and engage people in the pursuit of bold, ambitious goals. These leadership behaviors then unleash employees’ deep commitment and abundant discretionary effort.
Leadership Development Within Your Company
Establishing new leadership behaviors is no easy task. CorpU Sprints facilitate targeted, expert-directed discussions to encourage diverse views on how to achieve sustainable change, and guide individual and group-based activities to help leaders practice new behaviors. CorpU Analytics yield insights on leaders’ attitudes, motivation, and commitment to action so that barriers don’t impede improvement, and organizations can finally validate the impact of leadership development on business performance.
To learn more about how to proactively execute cultural change, contact us for a demo today.