An organization’s culture can be a leading factor in success – or derailment.
Your culture is a reflection of how individuals behave: how they solve problems, communicate with each other and get things done. The results you see are the consequences of those behaviors, and if the results are not what you want, individual behaviors need to change.
What are the triggers that signal the need for a culture transformation? Keep an eye for these six signs:
1. Organizational Metrics
When metrics take a turn for the worse, it’s a sure sign that change is needed. Whether it’s customer service statistics, quality standards, financial performance, safety incidents or any other measurement that is significant to your organization, you need to figure out why the metrics are signaling that the desired results aren’t there. Consider how your current culture may be supporting the behaviors that are producing subpar metrics.
2. Performance Against Competition
If competitors are increasing market share at your expense, leaving you in their wake, it’s a trigger for change. Competition that is doing very well is a strong indicator that it’s time to step back and determine how your culture needs to change to remain competitive.
3. Disengaged Workforce
Engagement is often the area where organizations see the most need for a culture transformation. A highly engaged workforce has a greater willingness to participate, initiate and take more ownership of outcomes. If you’re seeing increased turnover rates, lackluster performance, difficulty recruiting high-quality talent, negative employee surveys or a lack of innovative ideas, you may have a culture of disengagement.
4. Sub-Optimal Leaders
Business challenges are changing, but your leaders may not have kept pace. When organizations grow rapidly, leadership development often lags. Leaders at all levels may well lack the skills to model and coach, and they often don’t know how to truly unleash the potential of their employees. This creates a deficit at both the top and bottom of your leadership pipeline, making it difficult to sustain growth.
5. Identified and Missed Opportunities
Although opportunities for improvement have been identified in your organization, complacency is getting in the way of taking effective action. Your organization’s workforce may be missing opportunities to improve processes, eliminate waste, increase productivity or make the move to digital. These are key indicators that your culture is no longer supporting, encouraging and enabling employees to act on these opportunities, even though doing so improves not only their success but also the organization’s.
6. Change Is Negatively Affecting Your Organization
Whether your organization is lagging behind in social media use, technological improvements, changing workplace demographics or environmental issues, it’s a sign that the changing world has left you behind. A change in your culture has the potential to refocus and re-energize how your organization interacts with our ever-changing world. It’s critical to equip employees to see, consider and then respond.
Knowing what needs to change is the first step in your culture transformation journey. Regardless of the size of the transformation – whether it is for a team, a department or the entire organization – there will be pitfalls and challenges on the road ahead but also many unidentified opportunities waiting to be seized. You’ll need to take care to secure, and perhaps even amplify, the best of what exists, while at the same time clearly addressing and truly transforming the areas needing attention.
Though every culture transformation is unique, it is a best practice to never become complacent in the evaluation of your culture. You need to understand what is possible, what others are doing and what can be before you decide whether some form of culture transformation would make you even more effective. Capitalizing on these six signs could be what moves your organization from what is to what could be.