Culture and behaviours are so closely linked as to be almost indistinguishable. In helping clients to deliver change effectively, our focus inevitably turns at some point to the culture of the organisation or the team involved. We see culture as a combination of values and habitual organisational behaviours that have built up over time, whether stated or unstated. For larger businesses they can differ between teams, locations, countries or divisions. Many of these habitual behaviours and beliefs are so deeply embedded we are no longer consciously aware of them; yet their effect can be profound, both in terms of the energy and commitment of the people involved and, as a result, the overall long term performance of the organisation.
Change success relies upon a deep understanding of where those behaviours come from and to what extent they are supporting or undermining what the organisation is trying to achieve. Changing a culture requires a specific set of skills and approaches and takes a great deal of commitment and consistency from everyone involved, along with a very clear sense of what good looks like (and what it doesn’t).
Culture isn’t always tangible or easily measurable but most of us will be aware of it and will know fairly quickly whether it’s a healthy one or not. Our cultural environment (at work, at home, social etc) has a huge part to play in how we behave too, so consciously taking the time to actively shape a culture to a more positive place has a profound effect on everyone involved. We’re now seeing plenty of examples of how focusing on improving business culture has been the key to step change improvements in both agility and long term performance. And often it’s the seemingly small changes, when applied consistently, that can make a big difference.
Our job is to help our clients to define and then reinforce the values and behaviours that will help them create a culture they can be proud of and that will lead them on the path of long term success. Culture exists whether we are aware of it or not, so it’s worth taking the time to ensure the one we have is the one we need.
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