Four Culture Levers That Can Affect Meaningful Organizational Change

By Nicole Bendaly

Until you understand what your current culture looks like, it’s very difficult to understand where you need to go and what you need to shift and evolve. The best organizations understand what their current culture looks like, and when they’re looking to change, they take the time to define the ideal culture that their leaders need to strive for. It’s not always about changing. Sometimes it’s about making a shift –  about honouring, nurturing and protecting what’s great about today’s culture, and fine-tuning those things that aren’t working any more or that have gotten off track.

Four key culture levers that organizations can use to affect culture change

  1. Mission, vision, values. Sometimes organizations need to get clear on their vision, revise their values, or better connect their people to their mission or purpose.  Focusing on defining values or looking at ways to really connect and build accountability around the organization’s vision and purpose is a powerful lever that can have an important impact on culture.

  2. Leadership.  Probably the most powerful lever that organizations have is leadership. Do you have culturepreneurs in the organization? On your leadership team? What skills tools and strategies do your leaders need in order to craft your ideal culture? Getting alignment on culture within the leadership, and developing leaders who champion the role of culture on performance, is a vital tool for affecting culture change.

  3. People. An organization cannot achieve its vision and drive exceptional results without people, and a high-performance organization is made up of people who actively live the organization’s values every day and bring with them unique skills, experiences and perspectives that add to the culture in a manner that will enable the organization to achieve its vision.  Are you attracting, hiring, developing, and retaining people who are highly engaged, with the qualities, behaviours, mindsets, and skills to positively contribute to the organization’s culture and performance. What do your people need to become culture crafters of your organization?

  4. Systems, processes and policies. If your performance management policy doesn’t support a growth mindset, if it isn’t measuring the right things, or isn’t taking a coach-like approach, then chances are you won’t be building an empowered workforce. If your policy around making mistakes or learning doesn’t support empowerment, then you won’t build an empowered workforce. And if your career management and talent management plan doesn’t support empowerment, you won’t build a workforce focused on continuous learning.

Knowing which lever to pull to best achieve your culture goals is important. To learn more about culture transformation and how Waterstone can help organizations with their culture transformation journeys, contact us.