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Sunday, March 25, 2007
Changing Corporate Culture

Here are a few questions that were posted to the Blog that have to do with corporate culture. I think they are timely enough to feature on this home page. The questions posed were:

1. Why is the corporate culture so important?

2. Can the culture be changed or does it simply evolve of its own volition?

While there are some slight differences in definitions of corporate culture, most experts agree that it is the shared “taken-for-granted” assumptions, beliefs, values, expectations and rules that members of a work team or organization hold. This is essentially the guiding light for team interaction, expectations and decision making. The culture is revealed by studying the relationships of the members.

Changing the corporate culture must emanate from the top. The leadership of an organization such as the CEO and the senior management team is the single most critical success factor in a culture change effort. Today corporate leaders have to invest significant amounts of time and energy into a culture change effort and they must personally live, and model the new cultural ethos. Members of the team CAN NOT change without the leadership first changing. Let me say that again… members of the team CAN NOT change without the leadership first changing. This is absolutely essential. In fact when leaders DO choose to “trade-up” their values and belief systems, change often magically occurs.

But in order for the cultural change to “take hold” within the organization, the members must be re-educated on what is import ant to the future of the company and how to make decisions that are consistent with that purpose. Therefore the change effort must be accompanied by clear vision, mission and value statements in providing direction and behavioral guidelines for the new culture. Again these must go beyond words cast into a plaque that is hung on a wall. It must be evidenced by daily actions which fall in line with the values espoused.


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