Climate change has more impact than culture change in organisations
In the organisations I have lead I have steadfastly refused to have any culture change programmes. I prefer to change what the organisation and its’ people are doing, and as a result the culture changes. Too many efforts aimed at improving organisational performance stumble because they miss this opportunity.
I am sure many readers will have shared the experience of attending a culture change workshop where a “desired culture” is identified and a list of “behaviours” is identified. Then we all go back to doing the same things in the hope that the culture will change. Unless new and different activities are introduced the change efforts will be suboptimal.
One aspect of this that is not often spoken about now is the difference between climate and culture in organisations. Culture tends to be deep and stable (entrenched). Culture is often difficult to access and perceive. Climate, on the other hand, is often easier to perceive and understand – the behaviour, attitudes and feelings that characterise daily life in the organisation. Climate is not only easier to assess, but it also is easier to change.
Climate is the key determinant of performance. Every action you take, every decision made, will have direct impact on the climate in the organisation.
Neglecting your people, for example, creates a poor climate. A warm, supportive, co-operative climate where high standards are accepted and expected improves your chances of business success. Creating a climate where the teams objectives are crystal clear create the grounds on which a healthy culture will develop – one where every employee is totally committed to the company’s goals and works hard to contribute to them.
It goes beyond just asking: Do they work well together as a team?
The important questions for individuals look like this:
· Is everyone clear about what they’re doing?
· Do they feel their contribution is recognised?
· Do they feel they get a hearing?
· Are they truly valued and honoured by the organisation?
· Do they have a sense that they belong
Our Navigator Chair Shaun Coffey is an internationally recognised agricultural scientist with a career spanning the management of crown organisations, start up innovation technology companies and more recently his business advisory company. He is a renowned leader and strategist and is an well respected social media commentator.
Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography / FreeDigitalPhotos.net