Introduction - Ingredient 7 - Consolidating Performance Improvement

. Ingredients 1 to 6: after creating an ending and a beginning, a sense of urgency, forming a transitional team, developing alignment, maximising connectedness and creating the short-term wins, all the gains need to be embedded in the organisation's culture

. The traditional divisional and hierarchical structure creates a highly efficient implementation machine that allows an organization to refine its operations continuously, but it is less effective in renewing itself

. As cultural change is the hardest part of change, it comes at the end

"...The 800 pound gorilla that impaired performance and stifled change was culture..."

Harvard Business Review, 1997

. Change is effective once it becomes

"...the way we do things around here, ie in the bloodstream of the organisation..."

"...People stop saying, - this is the way I see it -, and start saying, - this is the way we see it..."

Jeff Bleustein in Peter Senge et al, 1999

These small but subtle shifts in language signal high and significant new capabilities, ie learning capabilities enable us to learn the value of:

- aspirations (capability to orientate, individually and collectively, toward creating what people truly desire, rather than just reacting to circumstances)

- reflective conversation (the capability to converse in ways that nurture reflection and inquiry to build shared understanding and to co-ordinate effective action)

- understanding complexity (the capacity to see patterns of interdependence underlying problems, and to distinguish short and long-term consequences of actions)

(source: Peter Senge et al, 1999)

. Culture

Culture is complicated. At a minimum, it factors in the underlying assumptions that people take for granted.

Cultural change involves transformational learning. This involves creating an environment of genuine trust and openness, building flat organizations where employees are truly empowered and creating self-managed teams. Change of this magnitude requires people to give up long-held assumptions and to adopt radically new ways. This kind of unlearning and relearning can be unbelievably painful and slow

Culture has been defined as the feel, chemistry, the stuff that makes one organization different from another. The 2 key indicators of culture are the

- behaviour of employees

- way they feel about their work.

Alternatively, culture can be examined in terms of:

- behaviour (the mode of leadership, including words and actions, and how people are treated generally)

- symbols (the physical environments, who and what are rewarded, rituals and where emphasis is placed in terms of time and money)

- systems (goal setting, reporting, remuneration and performance management)

(sources: Carmel Dwyer, 2001; Edgar Schien, 2002)


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