Organisational culture

Organisational culture

Organisational culture – an organisation’s culture is a complex system with a organisational culturemultitude of interrelated processes and mechanisms that keep it humming along.  Sometimes it is hard for the leadership team to really understand the culture of the organisation they lead.

This is true particularly if they follow the traditional pattern and don’t move much from the leadership floor!

The leading team may think they determine the culture when they agree a vision and define the values that go with it.

“Oh yes, we are on a mission and we have a mission statement too! It is all in the hands of our Comm’s Director, so I’m sure people understand what it means and reflect it in our culture!”

Really? Unless those vision and mission statements are truly reinforced throughout the organization, they can be meaningless in terms of the culture.

So, do you understand your organisational culture. How do you know what is happening where you are? Here are a few questions for you to think about;

  • Are your organisation’s vision and values reflected in performance reviews and training programmes?
  • What about you financial reward systems? Do they reinforce them?
  • How about memos and communications? Do they highlight what the leadership team thinks are important.
  • What about management actions? For example, are more junior promotions for people who toe the line? Or are they for people who go out on a limb to pursue your vision?

In reality, in most organisations, the culture develops unconsciously and organically. It creates a system that, while not always ideal, does work.

Changing an organisational culture is a real challenge!

It is hard to do without losing the good things you have now. Of course, that assumes that as a leadership team, you are clear about what good things you do have now!

If you are serious about your vision. And you really want to see your values in practice. Then you may have some hard work ahead!

But, of course, until you understand the culture you have now, you won’t know what you need to do. Will you?

Time to start asking some questions, I think!

Working with an executive coach really can help you get your organisation to perform well. Why not take advantage of my offer of a free half hour coaching session to find out how I can help.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organizational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Handling Resistance

Handling Resistance

Leading Change the Kotter Way

Handling resistance and fear is the fifth step in the Kotter model. This is handling resistanceabout empowering action, over coming resistance and getting rid of obstacles to change. This post is  part of a series on the Kotter approach to leading change. I am in process of revamping my original Kotter model series. Links to all the earlier Kotter posts are in the next paragraph.

The Kotter model is based on research which showed that there are eight critical steps an organisation or service needs to go through to ensure that change happens and sticks. This series of posts will consider these steps in greater detail. We have already reissued; Step One: Creating Urgency Step Two: Forming a Powerful CoalitionStep Three Creating a Vision for Change and Step Four: Communicate Your Vision

Now we are reaching the point where your investment in Stages 1 to 4, begins to pay dividends. Kotter himself states that when Stages 1 to 4 are skipped, resistance is inevitable and this can destroy your change.

People resist change because they fear loss.

They believe they are defending something they value which feels threatened.   This can include loss of security, power, resources and overall loss of control.  Most of us fear the unknown.

If you have followed the earlier Kotter steps when you reach this point, you will have been talking about your vision and building up buy-in from all levels of the organisation. Hopefully, your group will want to get busy and be out there achieving the benefits that you’ve been promoting.

But there may still be some resisting the change!  There may be people (individuals or groups), processes, structures and even organisations that are getting in the way? You not only need to put in place the structure for change, but check continually for barriers and blockers to it.

Handling resistance and removing obstacles can empower the people you need to execute your vision and it certainly helps them move the change forward.

Handling resistance! To remove obstacles you should;

  • Identify, or hire, change leaders whose main roles are to deliver the change.
  • Look at your organisational structure, job descriptions and performance and compensation systems to ensure they’re in line with your vision.
  • Recognise and reward people for making change happen.
  • Identify people who are resisting the change and help them see what’s needed.
  • Take action quickly to remove barriers (human or otherwise).

When people are resistant;

  • Help them understand the logic behind the change.
  • Give them an opportunity to contribute – to help design and implement the change (e.g., ideas, task forces, committees).
  • Provide facilitation & coaching to help them adjust to the change.
  • Offer incentives to those who continue to resist change.

If all else fails, and this change is critical to the organisation, you may need to use authority to get people to accept the change or move them sideways and, sometimes, even out of the organisation. Do it with as much respect for their dignity as possible – those remaining will be marked by how your respond .

This can be one of the most challenging stages for the Change Leader but – as I’ve written here many times before – no one told you change was going to be easy!

Meanwhile …

Here is a Kotter Reading List for you;

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Communicate Your Vision

Communicate Your Vision

Leading Change the Kotter Way

Communicate your vision is the fourth step in the Kotter model.  This is part of a series on the Kotter approach to leading shining light 2change. I am in process of revamping my original Kotter model series. This post is about communicating the vision that you created in the last stage. Links to all the earlier Kotter posts are in the next paragraph.  You should be working with a vision that people will be able to understand, get on board with and remember.

The Kotter model is based on research which showed that there are eight critical steps an organisation or service needs to go through to ensure that change happens and sticks. This series of posts will consider these steps in greater detail. We have already reissued; Step One: Creating Urgency and Step Two: Forming a Powerful Coalition  and Step Three Creating a Vision for Change.

Step Four: Communicate Your Vision

So you believe you have an overall vision that people will be able to grasp easily and remember. Now you need to get your vision out there to the people who need to understand it. Believe me, how you communicate it, will determine whether your change works, or not.

Your message is likely to have lots of competition. It will have to stand out from all the day-to-day communications within the company. As well as that, if your change is really significant, you can expect the rumour mill to be at work already. It is more likely to be spreading bad news than good. So you need to communicate your vision frequently and powerfully.

But, communicating your vision is not all about words. You and your guiding team need to walk the talk. You need to show that you believe and embed message in everything that you do.

Don’t just call special meetings to communicate your vision. Instead, talk about it every chance you get. The guiding team need to be visible and let people see you as the embodiment of the change you intend to make.

The top team should be using the vision daily to make decisions and solve problems. And so should all those who are actively engaged. Challenge those who do not. Keep the message fresh and on everyone’s minds.  Then they will begin to remember your vision and respond to it.

What you do is far more important – and believable – than what you say.

Make sure the whole guiding team demonstrates the kind of behaviour you want from others.

  1. Talk often about your vision to make it real.
  2. Be authentic – openly and honestly address peoples’ concerns and anxieties.
  3. Be prepared to answer questions but when doing so keep your vision in mind.
  4. Apply your vision to all aspects of operations – from training to performance reviews.
  5. Tie everything back to the vision.
  6. Lead and manage by example.

If you would like some help thinking about how you are going to communicate your change and how you reflect your vision in what you do, please get in touch. I’ve been there myself.

Meanwhile …

Here is a Kotter Reading List for you;

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Creating a Sense of Urgency

Creating a sense of urgency

Leading Change the Kotter Way

Creating a sense of urgency is Step One in the well-established Kotter model of leading change.  But what exactly does that mean?

After 30 years of research, Dr John Kotter believes that most major change initiatives fail mainly because organisations don’t commit to seeing the change through and don’t take a holistic approach throughout.   He has demonstrated that his 8 step process provides the most credible way of delivering and embedding large-scale organisational change.

His method elaborates and enlarges upon Lewin’s simple Freeze Phase, three stage approach – square, blob, star.  The underlying principles are the same. The model is based on research which showed that there are eight critical steps an organization or service needs to go through to ensure that change happens and sticks. This series of posts considers these steps in greater detail. we have already reissued;  Step Two: Forming a Powerful CoalitionStep Three Creating a Vision for Change and Step Four: Communicating Your Vision.

You have to work really hard

When I put the words ‘creating a sense of urgency’ into a search engine, I came up with all kinds of great ideas!  For example,  inspiring the team to work together towards a goal!  Lots of pleasant and positive stuff. Sounds good doesn’t it –  makes you feel good!  The problem is that, sadly, these positive ideas don’t work if you want to make fundamental change in an organisation.

Kotter reckons that for change to be successful, 75% of a company’s management needs to “buy into” the change. In other words, you have to really work hard on Step One, and spend significant time and energy creating a sense urgency, before moving onto the next steps. Unfortunately, there are no pleasant and easy answers.

It is hard to persuade groups of people to move a long way out of  their comfort Creating a sense of urgencyzone!  They will not move unless they understand that staying where they are is not an option! That means convincing them that staying where they are is going to be painful, or is simply no longer possible.

As my old lecturer in change management said somewhere back in the 90s – unless the pain of staying where you are is greater than the pain of moving, you usually stay put! He started the lecture with a picture of an amoeba and gave us a lecture on the fundamentals of stimulus! He was pretty focused on the importance of creating a sense of urgency. Without it, there would be no fundamental change!

So what can you do for your group?  It isn’t as simple as just showing them the sales figures, or other written evidence of need, and expecting them to respond.  You need to work with them. Go through the figures and then help them think through the consequences of doing nothing! Make it real. Not just consequences for the organisation, but for them. Help them to ask; “What will it mean for me in six months if nothing changes?”

Let them understand and absorb the threat. Then, work with them to think through options for the future and how they can move forward.

Share the pain and then show how you can share the gain.

Show them what they have to  gain from making a change. This may not be much but there will always be something! If the facts mean potential redundancies, work out how can you work together to mitigate the effects.

Are there new working patterns that you can adopt, for example, flexible or short-time working? Are there new markets to explore. What do they know about that might be helpful?

But, be careful. There is a difference between sharing the pain so that together you can make a change  and creating panic. There is a big difference between creating a sense of urgency and throwing things into chaos.

Do your homework before you start.

You are the leader and you need to remain in the leadership seat. Keep your nerve. It won’t be easy but then no one said being a leader was easy! Prepare well – you will face some challenging questions!

Don’t be naive! When they leave your meeting or presentation, the rumour mill will get to work. So, follow up with good information. Keep the communications flowing about your plans. Always be prepared to answer questions and be available. There will be some questions afterwards that they wished they’d asked at the meeting.

If you have experience of creating a sense or urgency, please share your war stories.  If you have a change to make – I hope things go very well for you! In the meantime if you need help please get in touch, I’ve been there before you.

Meanwhile…

Here is a Kotter Reading List for you;

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Leading Change – Creating a Powerful Guiding Coalition

Creating a Powerful Guiding Coalition

Leading Change the Kotter Way

Creating a powerful guiding coalition is perhaps the most challenging element of the Kotter model. I’ve written quite a bit here about the Kotter approach to leading change and I am in process of revamping my original Kotter model series.  This post deals with that difficult Stage Two; forming a powerful coalition to lead and manage the change. Links to the other stages are in the next paragraph.

After 30 years of research, Dr John Kotter believes that most major change initiatives fail mainly because organisations don’t commit to seeing the change through and don’t take a holistic approach throughout.   He has demonstrated that his 8 step process provides the most credible way of delivering and embedding large-scale organisational change. This series of posts will consider his steps in greater detail. we have already reissued; Step One: Creating Urgency, Step Three: Creating a Vision for Change and Step Four: Communicating Your Vision.

His method elaborates and enlarges upon Lewin’s simple Freeze Phase, three stage approach – square, blob, star.  The underlying principles are the same.

In a world requiring ultimate flexibility, an organisation’s ability to deal successfully with change is a key ingredient in its overall success.

Step Two – Creating a Powerful Guiding Coalition

No one person, however competent, is capable single-handedly of completing all the tasks required in leading a large organisation through change. The tasks include;

  • developing the right vision,
  • communicating it to vast numbers of people,
  • eliminating all of the obstacles,
  • generating short-term wins,
  • leading and managing dozens of change projects
  • anchoring new approaches deep in an organisation’s culture.

Putting together the right people to lead and manage  the change is critical to its success. It needs visible support from key people through-out your organisation. You must find the right people, instil in them a significant level of trust and develop a shared objective.

Those people need to have the right credibility within the organisation.  Otherwise things will go limp and the change will simply go to pieces and fritter away. This will leave the organisation weaker than it was before.

Create a  team of leaders and managers that can act in concert and make productive decisions. The decisions need to be taken seriously by all the group! Managers in the team will keep the process under control, while leaders drive the change. Some times people can both lead and manage but don’t assume you will find both talents in the same people.

An effective guiding coalition

An effective guiding coalition should have;

  • Position Power:  Enough key players on board so that those left out cannot block progress.
  • Expertise:  All relevant points of view should be represented so that informed and intelligent decisions can be made.
  • Credibility:  The group should be seen and respected by all so that the group’s pronouncements will be taken seriously by others.
  • Leadership:  The group should have enough proven leaders able to drive the change process.

Creating a powerful guiding coalition means the team needs to develop trust in one another. They need a shared goal so that they can make the needed change happen, despite all of the forces of inertia and resistance they may find.

Meanwhile…

Here is a Kotter Reading List for you;

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

 

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Leading Change: Now With a New Preface by Author John Kotter

Leading Change: Now With a New Preface by Author John Kotter

I believe Leading Change is simply the best book around on its subject. The international bestseller is now available with a new preface by author John Kotter.

Millions worldwide have read and embraced John Kotter’s ideas on change management and leadership.

From the ill-fated dot-com bubble to unprecedented M&A activity to scandal, greed, and ultimately, recession–we’ve learned that widespread and difficult change is no longer the exception. It’s the rule. Now with a new preface, this refreshed edition of the global bestseller” Leading Change” is more relevant than ever.

John Kotter’s now-legendary eight-step process for managing change with positive results has become the foundation for leaders and organizations across the globe. By outlining the process every organization must go through to achieve its goals, and by identifying where and how even top performers derail during the change process, Kotter provides a practical resource for leaders and managers charged with making change initiatives work.” Leading Change” is widely recognized as his seminal work and is an important precursor to his newer ideas on acceleration published in “Harvard Business Review.”

Needed more today than at any time in the past, this bestselling business book serves as both visionary guide and practical toolkit on how to approach the difficult yet crucial work of leading change in any type of organization. Reading this highly personal book is like spending a day with the world’s foremost expert on business leadership. You’re sure to walk away inspired–and armed with the tools you need to inspire others.


Wendy Mason is the Happiness Coach and author of a new novel, The Wolf Project.  Wendy is a life and career coach and writer. She is passionate about helping people find happiness at work and at home! To find out more emailwendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com, find her on Skype at wendymason14, or call +44 (0) 2081239146 (02081239146 for UK callers) or +1 262 317 9016 if you are in the US.  

A free trial/consultation allows you to give phone coaching a real trial without any financial risk. And remember there are great benefits to be achieved from coaching by phone or Skype.

CV review and interview preparation a speciality

  • Why Telephone Coaching Works
  • Job Hunting Tips : How to Make a Job Search Plan
  • Job Search: How to find a new job using LinkedIn!
  • Job Search – Top Ten Job Search And Social Media Questions

 

People Matter

People Matter

Leading Change – People Matter

People Matter – this is not a new post but I thought it was worth re-posting because the message holds good for all time 

I’ve just seen an advert for a “change management lead” for a multi-national facilities management company – they provide everything from reception services to construction.  It asks for Prince2 (project management skills) and Six Sigma (improving the quality of process outputs) certification.  It mentions the enterprise management system used by the organisation and says the post-holder would be required to set up and document SLAs and define KPIs.  Sadly, beyond asking for the candidate to have strong interpersonal skills, the one thing it doesn’t mention is PEOPLE and leading people – this from a company in the heart of the services sector!

Makes you wonder doesn’t it?  If a services organisation doesn’t know enough about change to know that people, and the leadership of people, are at the heart of any change then we really do have a long way to go to spread the message! But something else strikes me as well!  If the applicant is required to lead change then this company doesn’t really know much about leadership either and that has much wider implications!

Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach
Wendy Smith, Principal Coach, WiseWolf Life and Career Coaching

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link

         

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Engaging Individuals

Engaging Individuals

Leading and Managing Change – It Starts With One – Engaging Individuals

Engaging Individuals – all kinds of organisations, public and private , large and small, have been searching for decades for the holy grail of organisational change. They want to find the perfect way to motivate employees to change their old ways for what management (or consultants!) deem to be better, new ones.

This is a great video about engaging Individuals from the INSEAD (the Business School) channel on YouTube. It is about changing the hearts and minds of individuals as a necessary precursor to organisational change.  The real engagement of individuals is key to success in organisational change

Hal Gregersen is a Senior Affiliate Professor of Leadership at INSEAD where he pursues his vocation of executive teaching, coaching, consulting, and research by exploring how leaders in business, government, and society discover provocative new ideas, develop the human and organizational capacity to realize those ideas, and ultimately deliver positive, powerful results.

Stewart Black is the INSEAD Affiliate Professor of Organisational Behaviour

You can find out more about INSEAD at this link http://www.insead.edu/home/

Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach
Wendy Smith, Principal Coach, WiseWolf Life and Career Coaching

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link

         

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Leading Change: High Levels Of Engagement Could Actually Put Your Change At Risk

Leading change: high levels of engagement could actually put your change at risk

New research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and Kingston University Business School’s Centre for Research in Employment, Skills and Society (CRESS) has emphasized the distinction between people whose man engagement at work is with doing their immediate job to earn a living and others whose emotional attachment is much wider and extends to the organization itself – colleagues, line managers and customers.

Those engaged primarily with their jobs might enjoy and take pride in their individual work but they just want to do it and get on with rest of their lives. It is interesting that the study found that these people who are transactionally engaged (their interest is mainly in the technicalities of own work) report higher levels of stress and difficulties in achieving a work-life balance than those who are emotionally engaged with the organization.

It can become more complicated when, for example. someone is emotionally engaged mainly with their profession and perhaps even their clients, but only transactionally engaged with their current role and the current organisation.

Now ,this presents some interesting challenges for those leading change, particularly in how they communicate about the change.

A change that is being made for the perceivable good of the organization is more likely to be supported by someone emotionally engaged with that organization. That is, if the well being of colleagues is seen to be a priority and there is a clear commitment to managing the change well.

However, a change that threatens the work of an individual who is transactionally engaged may present a much greater risk. Most change managers have encountered the committed and brilliant technical specialist who decides they have no alternative but to subvert a change for the good of their work.

So how can you respond?

Well, for a start you need to understand your group and have a care with the results of engagement surveys which may not distinguish between different kinds of engagement.

What kind of people are in your group and what kind of work do they do? Walk the talk – get out there and meet them. Have conversations and be prepared to listen and to deal with feelings and anxiety.

When you communicate the change be aware that the impact will be different for different kinds of people. Take those different needs into account when you are planning the message. Then recognize the risk that different kinds of engagement might present. If your change threatens the organization itself then you need to manage the risk that presents for those committed to it. But handled the right way they will come with you on the journey.

Those committed mainly just to the job may well simply remove themselves, together with their precious technical skills if they can see nothing in the change for them. If their skills are critical to the organization you may need to consider incentives to stay – these could range from money to opportunities for professional development or even enhanced technical facilities.

As with all change programs, success lies with inspiring people to follow the vision but that inspiration may come with different strokes for very different kinds of folks

If you need the support of a coach in developing your career as change leader or change manager, then get in touch – I’ve been there before you.

Wendy Mason is a Career Coach with Life Coaching skills and expertise in helping people have the confidence they need to be successful at work while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason
@wisewolfcoaching.com

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The Leader’s Way: Business, Buddhism and Happiness in an Interconnected World – Leadership Lessons from the Dalai Lama

Effective leadership is an underlying theme throughout the teachings of the Dalai Lama.

Cover of "The Leader's Way: Business, Bud...

International managerial consultant Laurens van den Muyzenberg identified the business leadership undercurrent in the 1990s after he was hired to advise the Dalai Lama.

Realizing the great potential in combining their respective expertise, van den Muyzenberg and the Dalai Lama co-authored The Leader’s Way, applying Buddhism to business practices.

“Most of my clients do face difficult ethical problems,” says van den Muyzenberg, who consults leaders. “It’s hard to find somebody with the kind of ethical prestige that [the Dalai Lama] has.”

Professor  C.O. Herkströter, former CEO of Shell and Chairman of the Board of ING wrote this when reviewing the book.

“This book examines capitalism and Buddhism in a fascinating way. Everybody in business who is seriously interested in responsible entrepreneurship will recognise the issues. The book adds a valuable dimension to the values and ethical standards that form the basis for responsible leadership in business.”

The approach represents the synthesis of East and West and provides an inspiring manifesto for business change. The first part of The Leader’s Way two-part message is this: in order to lead, you must understand the reasons for our actions then you can act to  solve problems through integrity, respect and sensitivity toward others.