Cultural Blending, Management of Change & Shifting
Organizational Workforce Behavior =
By: Mark Hordes
Even though 25 years of organizational research indicates that individual behaviors are “hard - wired” by the time employees enter the workforce, you can shift organizational behaviors to support team development, alignment to the “business case for change” and new strategic business objectives if you following four simple steps:
1. Conduct a culture alignment assessment with all employees. Calibrating the current state of an organizations culture is always a first step in an effective intervention process. As an example, determining what values, behaviors and personal work styles, provides you with needed data to calibrate how big the gap is from “where your culture is today” and what is “required to paint a picture” of what is needed to foster alignment in the future. This process also sets in motion the capability to track cultural shifts over time as well. Your management team will find this very helpful as they are asked to resource interventions and fund activities to reach an aligned cultural state.
2. Promote One Leadership Style to the Workforce. As you can imagine there are dozens of suggested leadership approaches being promoted by management consultants and theorists today. Everything from Situational Leadership, Participative Management, and Leading from the Top are examples. All of these approaches have merit. The danger is when your Leadership team sends managers to different Leadership Training events, and everyone comes back with their own approach. It’s a fast way to create confusion for the workforce as they work for different leaders over time each with a different leadership style. A best practice however is to promote and put into play only one particular Leadership approach that you ask everyone to follow.
Creating a singular leadership approach that focuses on “Leading from Commitment” as an example utilizes the concept of mutual commitment as a lever to capture the “hearts and minds” of leaders and the workforce. It is also important to utilize a leadership approach that instills positive mutual purpose and intent. Once these have been established, skills in active listening, decisions through alignment, and utilizing challenge as a positive process can create the level of leadership success you are seeking for your company.
3. Create One Line of Sight to Reach Alignment. Do we all agree? Anyone not agree? Do we have consensus? Are we all aligned? Anyone not aligned? Wow! This can be confusing. Teaching everyone how to be aligned and supportive with decisions that individuals and teams make is essential. The secret lies in teaching everyone how to question effectively, listen actively, and demonstrate open advocacy and stress authentic.
Alignment comes about when we are clear as to how to gain alignment on the “small steps” that ultimately build into larger areas of agreement. Having an effective “protocol to communicate” within our team to reach agreement helps make alignment a reality.
4. Separate Assumptions from Facts. Making assumptions versus examining facts are quite different. Sometimes there are not enough facts to even make an assumption about a situation we are being asked to solve. We can only go out and obtain more facts, or based on the information we are provided we cannot assume anything. This is a very difficult human behavior to change. People jump to conclusions quickly often based upon their cultural biases, personal history, or current experience. Helping employees to reach a higher level of “consciousness” as to the differences between assumptions and facts, and when more information is needed is a “lesson” worth learning .The ‘fruits” of this type of learning has broad and far reaching implications as to how work and solutions are developed and carried out.
Like any good recipe for increased performance, having the right ingredients blended together, and kept in balance, will yield a predictable outcome. Determine your organizational cultural attributes, calculate and manage the change, and help you’re your leaders foster a positive shift in organizational behavior is a journey worth taking.