Happy New Year! I wish each of you much success in your influence as a leader in 2014.
As a baseball coach, scout, or organizational leader in 2014, one thing that will be constant is change and adjustments. We all know that wins and losses are generally the driving force behind change of leadership in our game of baseball and 2014 will be no different. To develop a winning culture on any team or organization, one must continually change the culture, the vision, and the strategy to accomplish the mission. Is it challenging? You bet it can be. Can it be done? Absolutely!
So, the question “How to Change Organizational Culture in 2014″ is a great question, and one most leaders must chew on and think about – because it is something every leader of a team and organization will eventually face.
Leaders often wonder why they can’t get traction in making the changes they know are necessary. They articulate a new vision. They change a few policies. They tweak this or that. They might even replace or add a few key people in the scouting dept, organization, or coaching staff. However, nothing substantive changes. The problem is that “culture” is largely invisible to those inside of it. It’s like water to a fish or air to a bird. It’s simply the environment we live in. New leaders of an organization face this almost always. Most times, they are immediately aware of the culture. They have done their “do-diligence.” There are many aspects of the organization that they like, however, others they know have to change in order to improve sustainable results.
Experts say that many of these changes often happen quickly, Many times this helps the operating results improve dramatically. Broader changes can usually take longer, however, as the leaders responsibilities grow, they eventually take root as well.
The following are six suggestions or ideas you can take to change the culture of your own team, organization, or even place of business as you face 2014.
1) Become aware of the culture: Begin to notice it’s characteristics. Pay attention to shared values among the senior leadership and every day employees, the way people express themselves, and the stories they tell about their success and failures. Is everyone seeing and saying the same things? Is their personal commitment to roles within the organization? How is the moral? Do employees feel valued or not? Find out the pulse of your team or organization.
2) Assess your current culture: Start by creating three lists
A) What should stay? Write down the aspects of your culture that you like and want to preserve. What are some positives that you like, and do they line up with the mission and vision you have for the team or organization.
B) What should go? Write down the aspects of your culture that must die if you are going to go forward. If it doesn’t line up with your mission and vision of where you want to take the team or organization – Kill it. Get rid of it. The sooner the better. If you practice and prioritize an “open book” philosophy – where everyone knows how the organization is doing, then everyone can work together to improve results. You can’t hold people responsible and accountable for what they don’t know.
C) What is missing? Write down aspects of the culture that seem to be missing or weak. Is individual accountability weak? Are people afraid or intimidated to take personal commitment and responsibility? Are people afraid to express opinions and insights? Are people pointing fingers and blaming each other for the dysfunctional mess the team or organization is currently in? The list can be endless of what might be missing.
3) Envision a new culture: This can be the fun part. Rather than simply complain about what is – begin to image what could be! Imagine you are working with a blank sheet of paper and anything is possible. What would the ideal culture of your organization look like? Write down as much detail as possible, then narrow it down to 7-10 attributes. Meet with your leadership team and fine tune it. This can become your blueprint of the culture and working atmosphere that you want to create.
4) Share the vision with everyone: The culture will not change unless you cast a vision for something new, fresh, and exciting. You have to articulate it in a way that is compelling. Above all, be specific! You can’t just do this one time. You must keep casting the vision over, and over, and over. When you start getting sick of hearing yourself talk about it, you’re only half done! Keep speaking it. Keep casting it. Why? Because, as Andy Stanley once said – “Vision Leaks.” Initially, the only existence vision has is in your words. You have to keep speaking it until it takes root and begins to grow in your organization. Remember, “Speed of the Leader – Speed of the Team.”
5) Get alignment from your leadership team: I’m talking about more than agreement. You need alignment. This is something very different. You want a leadership team that clearly see’s the vision, understands what’s at stake, and is willing to take a stand to make it happen to those in the department, team, or organization. Think of it as a conspiracy. Not in the negative sense, but in the positive. You and your team of leaders are conspiring together to make a positive change that will literally transform and impact your organization. Alignment is vital!
6) Model the culture you want to create: The culture of a team or organization is the behavior of its leaders. If you change attitudes, values, beliefs, and behaviors – you will change the culture. You can count on it. If you don’t, you will fail. This is why you must have alignment with your leadership team. If they are not willing to change their behavior and model what you are trying to create, you must replace them. That may sound harsh, but it’s truth. If you don’t, nothing will change in the organization. Be the example. Even if the people above you won’t change, you can change the culture of your department, or team. Remember – “A lot more is caught than taught.”
Is it possible to change the culture of your team or organization in 2014? Absolutely it is! But like everything else in leadership, you must be intentional.
Happy New Year!
Q: What would changing your culture in 2014 make possible for your team or organization?