Culture change is never an easy process. Even if you are making meaningful, concrete changes in your organization to increase happiness, improve morale, and at the same time bring in more business, you’re going to run into resistance. You’re inevitably going to hear the battle cries of the old way of doing things: “But we’ve always done it this way!” and, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”.
The problem is, though, the old way is “broke”, and it does need fixing. Your challenge, as a conscious leader, is to show your team why culture change is a good thing, that it is an inevitable ongoing process and to guide them through the transition. To do that, you need to first understand why culture change is so hard for so many people. With that understanding, you’ll be able to use your emotional intelligence to help your people understand what change means for them and why they should embrace it and build resilience.
- Give Your Team a Sense of Security – Change Is Scary
First of all, culture change is difficult because change is always at least a little bit scary. Your employees and colleagues have been working in one system for a long time, and they know the ins and outs of that system very well. They know what they can expect when they come to work, and – even if they don’t operate in the most efficient and positive environment – that knowledge is comforting.
- Set Expectations
This is where conscious leadership comes in. You know that the culture changes you’re making in your business are positive, but have you taken the time to really show your employees why you’re implementing these changes? Invest the time and energy into showing your team what they can expect and how it will improve their lives. Explain the type of culture that is required and which parts are missing. Show them that they will have just as much security as they have now but that they’ll have a much more positive and rewarding work environment and company culture.
- Show Them That You Are Sincere – “It’s Too Good to Be True”
Even when you take the time to walk everyone through all of the changes that are taking place, you can still expect at least some resistance. Why? Because people are accustomed to being taken advantage of by people in positions of authority. Through experiences in their careers, with politicians in office, and throughout other parts of their lives, the people in your team have been trained to distrust authority, and it’s your job to show that you’re actually on their side.
To do this, show your team how the changes will affect your position, as well as theirs. Show them the work you’ll be doing through this culture change, and don’t be afraid to make some sacrifices for your team and to show them that you really do care about them. The more authentic and transparent you are, the more they will trust the changes you’re making.
- Walk the Talk – Align the Leadership Team
It is that simple: in times of change, perceived chaos and insecurity, people look up to leaders for guidance. If you and your leadership team are not walking the talk and practice the new culture, doubt and confusion will delay and ultimately sabotage your culture change initiatives. Clarify roles and accountabilities for key jobs. Being a conscious leader in what you do and say, consistently over time, will have a huge impact on the organization. Be human in noticing and changing your old culture patterns, share your wins and struggles with your teams and empower them to do the same. Changing old behaviors to new takes repetition, time and effort. Help each other and apply a good portion of humor while staying committed.
- Communicate, celebrate and recalibrate
Culture change is quite a journey and the temptation to go back to old pattern is your travel companion. It requires persistence, accountability and commitment for sustaining the changes. Conscious leaders notice the small wins and celebrate them. They also notice the sneaky little remainders and challenges of the old and keep everyone accountable, including themselves, in a compassionate and fierce way of leadership. Consistently communicating and practicing the required behavior is critical. Noticing the impact of changes through day-to-day activities, especially at the frontline and sharing positive examples with the organization is motivating, reaffirming and empowering. Those who struggle get support and ideas for recalibration. Individual coaching as well as team and system coaching integrated in the culture change journey is key to sustaining a successful shift.
For more information on paradigm shifts and culture changes within businesses and corporations, call Paradigm Shifters today at (+1) 415-702-0334 or fill out our online contact form.