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Changing an Organization’s Culture

It’s not too shocking to say the hardest thing for any leader or organization to do is to change the way people act, behave, and respond.  It’s easy to create a vision for what the future looks like, but it’s another to make that vision a reality.  This creates a HUGE challenge for new leaders.

Visualizing that vision for people and continuously communicating that vision will be key to driving change.  People need to understand the WIIFM “What’s in it for me”.  Let’s face it, we all hate change.  That is, if we don’t fully understand the benefit.  Most likely you’re never going to get 100% of the people behind your vision, as the natural distribution curve for change will exist.  On the left hand side of the curve you’re going to have your laggards (those who won’t accept change no matter what you do).  In the middle you’ll have the fence sitters (those who don’t feel passionately positive or negative about the change). On the right side you’ll find the pioneers or leaders (those who will accept your vision and help you lead the way).

Creating and communicating an incentive plan can help show the WIIFM.  By aligning pay, bonuses, incentives, etc. will help build the momentum you’re looking for.  Often times this is overlooked, but should not be forgotten.

In the end, the performance of the people under you will determine your fate as a leader.  Developing the right vision and strategy is one ingredient to your success, but changing the culture and creating followers is the hardest and most important ingredient.

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