i) Changing The Organisational Culture As The First Step

Trying to change the organisational culture as the first step in the transition process

. Not realising that culture is continually evolving; it is not static or preservable. What you preserve are your values; these should drive your organisation. Also, new staff will add to the culture by bringing their experiences, viewpoints, perspectives, talents, etc.

NB Culture trumps strategy is often changed to
"...culture eats strategy for breakfast..."
James Dunn, 2017b

Culture can be hard to define, measure, manage and evaluate as it is about intangible, invisible attributes that bind an organisation together, such as its norms, purpose, values, approach, behaviours, etc.

The customer should be the central focus of an organisation.

. Not understanding the 5 main functions of culture (Marcella Bremer, 2012), ie

i) it provides collective security or reduces collective insecurity, ie "it's the way we do things around here and what we believe in" or "this is how things are"

ii) it determines social hierarchy, ie it gives people a position; it determines the leaders and is a stabilising factor

iii) it provides continuity, ie members share common language, values, beliefs, behaviours and standards; we copy them and encourage others to adopt them. At the behavioural level it is passing on "the way we do things around here"

iv) it provides a shared identity and familiarity, ie provides a sense of belonging and being appreciated which is a very basic human need

v) it provides a vision of the future, ie it gives a purpose; makes our behaviour meaningful

. Declaring victory too soon, ie won a battle but not the war. Some idealistic change initiators can declare change victory too early, and change resistors see a premature victory celebration as an opportunity to stop the change and revert to traditional ways ie resistance waits to reassert itself

. Current procedures that are based on historical reasons only, ie a crisis 10 years ago led to a procedure that is not applicable now

. Not realising that 5 to 10 years can be needed for changes to sink deeply into an organisation's culture; until then the changes are fragile and subject to regression

. Not using short-term wins as a way to attack bigger problems, ie systems and structures that are not consistent with the change purpose

. Not rooting the new behaviour in the social norms and shared values of the organisation.


"...new ideas do not travel easily, and it is hard for them to take hold..."

Howard Gardner, 2006

. Not explicitly demonstrating that changes have helped to improve performance

. "Supernova burn-out", ie senior executives burn-out owing to stress and related matters. This can result in reduction in the average lifespan of a CEO, and puts increasing pressure on succession planning

. Technologically and financially-orientated people sometimes find the topics of social norms and values too soft for their tastes. Yet the people issues form the basis for the "social architecture" of the organisation

. Supporters of the change move on and leave a vacuum

. Not realising that change is holistic, and is not piecemeal, ie all organisations are made up of interdependent parts. The degree of internal interdependence depends on the organisation (amount of inter-connectiveness between groups and individuals) and the degree of competition

. Not removing the Type 4 managers, ie who perform on the numbers but their behaviour does not support the values of the organisation

Anyone who doesn't buy into the prevailing culture needs to be removed otherwise

"...failure to do so can cause cancer from within..." the organisation
Greg Milne as quoted by Ann Hyland, 2016


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