Staff Wars: Change Star, Rogue None – Part 4: Cultivate a Change Culture

This is part 4 in our series focused on guiding you on how to implement a new project initiative without it getting blown up.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are the author’s own and do not represent Erecruit’s support of a particular alliance – Empire or Republic.

Without a proper vision and strategic goals, effective team members and an engaged (and supportive) workforce for change, delays, missteps, and ill-informed (or no) decisions are likely to incur. This can also happen on a well-planned and executed project; however, how you address those issues can make a world of difference towards your project’s success.

In a 2013 Strategy & Katzenbach Center survey of global senior executives on culture and change management, 44% of participants reported not understanding the changes they were expected to make, and 38% said they didn’t agree with the changes. 84% said that the organization’s culture was critical to the success of change management, and 64% saw it as more critical than strategy or operating model. And yet, despite these figures, culture seems to still be overlooked or only minimally addressed. According to The Katzenbach Center’s “10 Principles of Organizational Culture”, many organizations tend to start by trying to change mindsets, through branded and glossy value statements, in order to then impact behavior instead of the other way around.

When evaluating responses from companies who struggled with long-term change stability, a whopping 76% stated that executives failed to take account of the existing culture when constructing the future state of operations. When you do not have an effective process in place to deal with these matters, the excuses and blaming invariably transpire. Deadlines are unrealistic, the technology is lacking, or team members are accused of not being equipped to complete their task(s). Moreover, having an executive team or individual “leader” who tries to manage by threat or force will, unsurprisingly, result in resentment, loss of productivity, and possible unnecessary termination or resignation of valuable team members.

Staff Wars Change Star, Rogue None - Part 4 - photo 2.png

(Managing by force [choke] is what happens if you have delays during the Imperial starship project. Not a great morale booster.)

According to the Katzenbach Center article,

Culture is much more a matter of doing than of saying….

Changes to key behaviors — changes that are tangible, actionable, repeatable, observable, and measurable — are thus a good place to start. Some good examples of behavior change… relate to empowerment (reducing the number of approvals needed for decisions), collaboration (setting up easy ways to convene joint projects), and interpersonal relations (devising mutually respectful practices for raising contentious issues or grievances).

Staff Wars Change Star, Rogue None - Part 4 - photo 1.jpgBy including team members in the decision-making process with a defined method to make decisions (both easy and difficult ones) you can put your team in a better position for project success. Investment in operational improvements, formal current and future state process design workshops, and true accountability training can have significant return on the investment to the organization.

In the final post in this series, we’ll discuss how continual reassessment of the project can help curb unnecessary delays or costly development, prevent scope creep, and sustain project momentum. 

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Amy Yackowski is the Director of Healthcare Best Practices for Erecruit. She is an avid watcher of the Star Wars stories and seeker of new ways to improve the contingent workforce management experience for staffing agencies and their clients through operational analysis and technology. Amy is responsible for helping Erecruit healthcare customers develop their framework, analyze their business processes and optimize their use, effectiveness and efficiency of the Erecruit solutions. Join her in conversation on Twitter, LinkedIn and
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