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21 Mar 2016

How to Succeed at Culture Change Management

This entry is part 9 of 9 in the series Change Management Tactics

Figuring out how to improve company culture or how to change it becomes harder as the size of the organizational culture grows. Succeeding at culture change management becomes more vital.

Culture change management lives in the space between the strategy for changing culture and the coaching of it. It has two major aspects: finding informal leaders and managing them. Leaders need help to improve and change cultures.

Finding Informal Leaders

Identifying and managing informal leaders is a major aspect of succeeding at culture change management.

A major aspect of succeeding at culture change management is finding the informal leaders in the organization.

Too many times though, leaders rely on formal hierarchies to tell them who those leaders are. Culture change though makes informal networks and relationships prime. People will model their motivations and behaviors after those they like and respect.

In smaller firms, leaders might already know who those informal leaders are. In larger ones, they will not. In these cases leaders have historically relied upon their middle managers to identify them. They have also hired change management consultants to survey or interview staff.

Surveys have very limited value. Interviews have limited scope or huge costs. Mapping internal networks takes the best of both. Digital tools make this very possible and affordable. Employees tell leaders who they see as their models.

Culture Change Management

The second aspect of culture change management is managing these informal leaders. Once we find them we organize and support them. We do not need many. A small, committed team of 5-10% can change the whole group.

Organizing means:

  • Letting them know who is on the team
  • Facilitating ways for them to communicate and share
  • Stating their common purpose and goal.
  • Setting up guidelines, processes and structures to unify team

Supporting means:

  • Providing the training, planning and tools to succeed
  • Intervening as they request and direct
  • Rewarding and recognizing their efforts
  • Communicating regularly

Successful culture change management will have this team feeling like a team, not a committee. That means they will be:

  • Working to model motivations and behaviors of the future culture
  • Encouraging co-workers to do the same
  • Complimenting co-workers when they do
  • Advising leaders of the culture change on how to reinforce their efforts

 Succeeding at Culture Change Management

Culture change management means working that space between strategies and coaching. It means managing a team of informal leaders. It means organizing and supporting them to exhibit, encourage and coach desired motivations and behaviors.

Culture change management means changing how we manage others. How can we change things without changing how we manage?

Series Navigation<< Change Management – Tactic #8: Management by Walking Around

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