Last week, we published the 2nd installment of our 3-part series on corporate culture transformation. It focused on core work products that must be produced to transform a corporate culture. Here is the final installment of the concept that I'm calling Culture By Design. This week we'll look at the 6 cultural levers that every management team has at its disposal to set cultural direction and manage the change that is necessary to establish an organization's Culture by Design, including:

  1. Strategy Engagement - Is about how management and staff are aligned with the strategic direction of the organization. This lever includes communicating a vision that motivates the staff; promoting of an "outside-in point of view" among staff that emphasizes how a firm is viewed through the lenses of the customer; mapping work activities against the achievement of the organization's strategic vision; aligning measurements and rewards with the strategies of the organization; emphasizing results over effort; and, recognizing and celebrating strategic achievements throughout the organization.
  2. Leadership Tendencies - Covers how leaders choose to lead. This lever consists of leaders demonstrating their commitment to the people of the organization; establishing team-based operating models to support problem-solving and getting the job done; adopting a virtual "No Spin" principle to minimize internal politics the promotion of parochial points of view; actively communicating and engaging with staff to enable a fuller understanding of the organization's goals and priorities; and; stamping out bad behaviors by management and staff.
  3. Focus Orientation - Is associated with where leaders place emphasis. This lever contains establishing a strong sense of "being in it together" within the organization; the building of a "Do Your Job" which encourages staff to develop a sense of being duty-bound to do their jobs at the highest level possible for the sake of their co-workers; promoting collaboration among management and staff; placing a high value on transparency, both internally and externally; and demonstrating that quality and providing impeccable customer experiences are top priorities.
  4. Risk Appetite - Explores how deviations from the status quo are tolerated by the organization. This lever encompasses encouraging staff to take action and make decisions without seeking management's pre-approval; allowing staff to "test" new ways of thinking and doing, without fear of reprisal; providing ample opportunity for employees to freely advance in their jobs and careers; establishing mechanisms for newly hired and younger staff to have a voice in how work can be improved and performed; and, enabling the organization to learn through its experiences, so, past mistakes are rarely repeated.
  5. Innovation Leverage - Is concerned with knowing how emerging ideas and technologies are used within the organization. This lever covers investing in ideas that will differentiate the organization in the marketplace; providing staff with the tools needed to do their jobs at their highest potential; regularly changing and adjusting work processes to improve performance; constantly monitoring the work environment to identify opportunities to automate and digitize work activities; and, becoming data-driven and leveraging information to help make decisions, forge new ideas and define new directions within the organization.
  6. Change Adaptability - Examines how change is introduced and managed within the organization. This lever entails broadly communicating all significant change efforts within the organization to remove all wonder and doubt about the effort; managing work as a series of projects and programs that enable the organization to move towards the achievement of its vision; aggressively leveraging the free agent marketplace by hiring experts, consultants and provisional staff (from the outside) on a temporary basis to enable business success; deepening and streamlining the interrelationships among strategic partners, vendors, distributors and customers; and, regardless of circumstances, gaining staff commitment to the success of the firm.

To close, I hope that you found this 3-part series informative and helpful. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me here for more on any of the topics brought out. Cultural transformation is too important to the success of your enterprise to let it happen by chance. Rather, as this series suggests, it is a leader's job to deliberately shape their organization's Culture By Design.

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