Culture is always working, 24/7, sending clues to people about how they should think and act at work. Culture tends to be hard to change and generally is only put into question when new results are needed. Makes sense: the same old mindset will only get you the same old results.
If your organization needs to accelerate growth, make a fast change, merge or expand, reinvent itself to seize an opportunity or simply have more positive results, you will have to manage the culture to get there.
What do you do when you have to make changes to achieve new results? Do you introduce new action plans, new rules, new procedures? Or do you restructure? Restructuring is the path most managers take but mostly they end up realizing that nothing has changed in the way people think. That happens because restructuring processes tend to focus on the surface – in changing the way people act. But when we focus only on actions we end up using a “coercive” change strategy based on forcing people into doing what we want them to do. And they do it – until the pressure if off and everything goes back to how it used to be.
Do you think you can force someone to change their thinking or their beliefs? Of course not. You have to change their experience so they can choose to change their beliefs.
Changing the way employees think and act seems impossible for most managers but with the Partners In Leadership methodology it isn’t. This methodology has been responsible for quick culture changes and results boosts for many organizations worldwide and we represent it exclusively in Portugal.
According to this methodology, to change people’s actions we have to change their beliefs about what they should do and how they should do it. These beliefs or ways of thinking originate in experience. To simplify: experiences create beliefs, beliefs drive actions, and actions produce results. Therefore to change results we have to start by changing people’s beliefs, according to the Partners In Leadership model. Unlike what happens when we focus in actions, when focusing on beliefs and experiences we tend to use a “persuasive” strategy of change based on helping people to fully invest in and take ownership of change.
When this happens a transformational change is achieved. You will no longer have to tell people what to do. They will have internalized the change and will be able to put their heart and mind into it. When people only change actions, it is only a transitional change, which will not last long.
Are the changes you need in your organization transformational or transitional? If you need a transformational change, dedicate yourself to managing the culture or the culture will be managing you.
Isabel Freire de Andrade
Partner da Bright Concept