Episode 169 •
13th October 2020 • American Lean Weekday: Leadership | Lean Culture & Intrapreneurship | Lean Methods | Industry 4.0 | Case Studies • Tom Reed: Lean Enthusiast & President of American Lean
What does it mean to transform your culture? Company cultures develop because of the leadership provided. If you have indecisive leadership, your company probably takes forever to make decisions. There is no sense of urgency.
The opposite is also true, if the leadership style is to constantly change direction based upon the thought of the day, your company culture is probably very chaotic. Employees won’t react because they know that something new is coming soon.
In either scenario, your company doesn’t react to opportunities. How can you transform your culture? Start with these tips.
1. Identity the culture that you desire
Having worked with over 60 companies in my consulting career, I’ve coached many leaders and business owners. Often there is frustration because things aren’t going as they would like, and they don’t know what to do about it.
The first thing I do is work with the leadership team is to identify the culture they desire. We do this through a vision session with the entire leadership team. When everyone on the leadership team buys into the culture they want, it is easier for them to support the efforts to achieve it. The leader of the organization will have to drive this session or get facilitation from the outside.
2. Gather input from others
Now that the leadership team has identified the culture they want, share the ideas generated with the next layer in the organization, and get their input. Are there topics you didn’t consider? I’m sure there are. As you become removed from the day-to-day operations, you probably understand less of what others in the company desire from company culture.
Generate a True North for the organization. A True North is different from a mission and vision statement. It is more encompassing and includes cultural elements.
3. Reinforce the new norm
Now that there is alignment on the culture you desire, you as leaders have to support activities that will develop the culture. There will be times you will need to have straightforward and honest conversations with employees. Do that professionally and refer to the True North as support.
It will take time for the culture to mold to your desired state. Repeat yourself hundreds of times, but always be consistent. Praise employees when they act in a manner that supports the True North and the culture you are trying to develop.
Share examples of situations where the new culture is taking hold. Do this through your intranet, newsletter, or whatever communication method your company uses. Ask employees to get involved by sharing examples where they have seen culture flourishing.
If you follow these tips, I know your company can transform your culture!
As always, it is an honor to serve you, and I hope that you and your company are getting better every day!