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Culture Change 101

John Walsh Breakthrough

Autumn is always a time for reflection at Breakthrough, and as we look back over the past year a few truths have unfolded that we want to share with you.

One client, in the banking sector in the Middle East, was looking at a rapidly changing market and how these changes would affect them, that was the when they called us.

The second client a global building services management company had a new project that would revolutionise the approach and costs of building services management.

The approach to a fundamental change in culture is to consistently message the direction of the change and role model the behaviours from the top down, this needs to be drip fed over a period of time commensurate with the change you are after.

Both clients shared the same beliefs and values, a one off team building workshop would change the culture. I am sure like me you are surprised to think that people still believe this, “let’s have a team day” that should build the culture behaviour pattern. The simple truth is it didn’t, both organisations are in the same place exactly one year on, no change in the banking organisation despite the fact the tide of change is coming in fast, no delivery of the ground breaking project for the building services management company despite the competition are catching up and closing the gap rapidly.

So what’s my point, Culture Change 101 is this: it is a long term, more sustained, multi level intervention strategy that is practical, specific to your organisation and works when it is consistent over an appropriate length of time.

For us 3-6 months is the fastest culture change we have worked with, the average is between 6-12 months.

Our plea is do it with us, do it with someone, do it yourself but build and layer the interventions that allow people to see the signals of change, give them time to grieve over the loss of the safe, secure, now, way of doing things and show them the hope of the future vision/direction. Final step is to equip them with practical, useable mental and physical skills, tools and techniques to make the change happen and become permanent.

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