A Good Dose of Culture Shaping

Organizational culture includes the embedded values, assumptions, mindsets and behaviors of a company. It’s the way things are done. Culture is embedded by senior leaders and their expectations, their own behaviors, and their vision for the company.

Shaping culture means changing how employees think about and approach their work. Because culture drives strategy, the right time for this is when a new strategy or organizational change is being planned, before it is initiated.

For every organizational change, the culture should be assessed by exploring these questions:

* What cultural traits will drive the new strategy (the change)?
* What is the current culture and how will it support or hinder the change?

The goal in answering the above two questions is to identify the 2-3 critical behaviors/habits that need strengthening to achieve the desired change.

There are several formal and informal levers that can be used to introduce new behaviors or reinforce those that support the new strategy. While most organizations lean heavily on formal levers such as reporting structures, training, and performance management, informal levers can be the most impactful. These include role modeling by senior leaders, meaningful one-on-one and group conversations between employees and their managers, and embedding peer change champions throughout the organization.

Peter Drucker is quoted as saying, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” To increase the success of your upcoming change, thoughtfully assess and shape your culture to meet the demands of your new strategy.

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This blog is excerpted from a longer blog posted on the ACMP Ohio web site:: Both are based on a presentation I made to the ACMP Ohio chapter on February 9, 2023: “Culture Transformation: Why do it and How?”