Just finished reading a WSJ article online titled “How to Change Your Organization’s Culture”. In addition to overcoming a variety of hurdles (cognitive, limited resources, motivation & institutional politics), “you must win the hearts and minds of the people you work with, and that takes both cunning and persuasion.” Sorry, but I’m having a hard time with calculated coercion as a viable or sustainable means of changing organizational culture.
My perspective on culture is quite simple: culture = what most people do, most of the time. If this holds some logic for you, then you just might agree that if you wanted to change the culture, you would want to focus on changing your behaviors. Yes, easier said than done, but at least now you know where to focus your time and attention with regard to creating cultural shifts.
The old adage of “you’ll know it when you see it” is my smart aleck response to the question “how do we know if we have the culture that we need for lean transformation?” You just have to stand in one spot and watch all the behaviors. What do you see? Problems being solved in conference rooms? Team huddles in front of active visual systems? Discovery of a problem being welcomed or buried? Constant fire fighting or structured time for gemba?
Many of you have heard me asking this question lately: if you agree that culture is the composite of the behaviors of leaders, then wouldn’t leaders behaving differently in a consistent manner create a different culture?
I welcome your thoughts…