Organisational Change Management Volume 1

Framework 29 Yahoo's Way

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"... to affect true cultural transformation, the structure, every system and process must reinforce the desired culture. And worse, all leaders must embrace new attitudes and conduct their activities in new and different ways. HR leadership cannot go it alone in these endeavors. Changing the culture requires the efforts of everyone in the enterprise..."

Libby Sartain, 2004

Ingredients for cultural change at Yahoo

Start the cultural conversations at all levels

Use cultural assessment or audit of the organisation through employee surveys, focus groups or interviews

Identify facts that reinforce and drive the organisation's culture, such as organisational history, leadership styles, industry practices, etc

Find answers for the following questions

- what is your customer's experience?

- what cultural elements are obvious to customers?

- is culture aligned with business strategy?

- where have we disconnected with our customers?

- what needs to change?

Develop a business case for cultural change

Find answers to the following questions

- what are the changes needed?

- how will desired changes in culture support the business strategy?

Work with the senior leadership team to determine the desired culture

Core values, desired behaviours and shared visions are essential for a positive cultural change effort to succeed

Every leader must embrace the need to change

Senior leaders must "walk the talk" and make new behaviours their way of life to reinforce the desired change

Develop an agenda or action plan for enhancing the culture or bringing about change

Start with the highest priorities and work on the toughest issues

For the new culture to become self-replicating, the core values and culture must be reinforced by behaviours and attitudes

Communicate what needs to change and why

Solicit input from everyone

Once the required change and process for change is defined, inform everyone what is expected

Advise everyone of the rewards for changing and its consequences

Change the organisational structure to enable change

Find new ways to accomplish work tasks

Use teams on particular projects

Broaden roles and responsibilities

Acquire talent based on cultural fit

Identify the characteristics of people who exhibit the desirable behaviours in everything they do

Give preference in staff selection to cultural fit over expertise/knowledge

Remove staff who don't fit the culture

Redesign your recruitment process

Check the cultural fits of new employees so that they understand the cultural imperatives of the organisation

Using stories, explain the drivers that lead to success and failure in the organisation

Create cultural messages

Ensure that every activity communicates the cultural messages and reinforces the values, mission, traditions and practices that are required in the change process

Involve everyone

Use focus groups, cross-functional teams, informal networks, meetings, etc to encourage identification of cultural disconnects and recommend remedies

Build an internal brand that supports the external brand

Deliver consistent employee experience

Ensure that employees know how to differentiate the positives and negatives of their experiences

Create an employer of choice reputation, internally and externally

Recognize and reward results

The recognition and reward systems should support the culture that you are working to reinforce

Cultivated leaders who promote your culture

Identify and develop leaders who are appropriate role models (including suitable leadership development programs)

Constantly reinforce the appropriate cultural messages

Remove obstacles (including staff) who do not support and reinforce the cultural message

Make it interesting and fun

Create contests, activities, events, celebrations etc that enhance the culture

Re-organise office layout to reinforce the cultural direction

Use HR techniques

Every activity should reinforce the basic behaviours and values behind the cultural direction

Staff reviews should measure cultural fit as well as job performance


"...No one should be locked out of the efforts to build a high-performance culture. Culture has become the DNA that forms the building blocks over everything else. So the entire organisation must have a role in keeping it alive. Work with corporate communications, advertising and marketing to capture the cultural message and to tout these internally and externally. Let product management see the new product development manifests the cultural values in the way it responds to marketplace demand for quality and service. Work with the legal department to demonstrate the company culture by developing ethical standards and a code of conduct that is not just in compliance but also the right thing to do...... you must achieve buy-in from everyone, from the CEO all the way down..."

Libby Sartain, 2004

(source: Libby Sartain, 2004)


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