How can you change something if you don't have a very clear view of what it's component parts are?
Talking about culture is like being able to talk about cars. Everyone knows what a car is, but not everyone understands enough about the component parts to make the overall system perform better. Or what parts to develop depending on what improved performance is required.
Do you require better road-holding, more comfort, faster acceleration, faster top end, better fuel economy ... each will deliver a 'higher performing car' but each will also be different and require different development work. If you're not clear on what outcomes you require, you could spend a lot of time and effort developing the wrong things. The same happens on a regular basis in business.
You can't have your cake and eat it.
Some aspects of 'Improved performance' conflict! A higher performing engine, i.e. more HP, consumes more fuel, generally speaking, you can't have that and more fuel economy and increased MPG. To have one thing, it's almost a universal law that another has to increase or reduce to keep the balance. You can't be angry and happy, good and bad, if you're more one, you're less the other. The same applies to engines and organisations.
It's also advisable to consider the culture in your organisation as unique, after all, the people who comprise your culture are unique!
You can't look over the fence, see the grass is greener and try to copy it, it just doesn't work.
Look at it like this; if you were to put all the best bits from different cars in a garage, with the intention of making the best car ever, it wouldn't work. To assemble them, they'd have to fit and work together, if there was no 'relationship' between the parts, you wouldn't end up with a car. The parts wouldn't fit together, they wouldn't 'relate' to one another, they'd just be parts that work well in other 'systems', but don't work 'together' out of context of the system they were designed for. Trying to copy parts of another successful companies culture is like that, it's out of context, you have to understand culture and develop your own.
You might believe a Jaguar has the best drive-train, a Maserati has the best gearbox, a Ferrari has the best engine and an Aston Martin has the best body work, but those parts couldn't work together without a lot of re-engineering. The same principles apply in business! There is no 'Fast-track' to culture change and top tier performance, it takes effort, and for most leaders some challenging self-reflection when the penny drops about the psycho-neuroscientific power of 'Leading by example'.
Other questions many fail to ask & answer when considering 'Culture change' is, "Where are you starting from?" Are you improving the performance of a decades old Datsun or improving the performance of a new Nissan GTR?
And where are you going? Do you just need it to start each morning or do you need to eek out the next 0.2% of ultimate performance?
Business is the same - the idea that there is such a thing as 'Culture Change' in the absence of detailed knowledge about the component parts of 'culture' is a dangerous mind-set for most organisations. In the absence of such knowledge, many mistakes are made.
In many cases, extensive time-scales, extensive budgets and extensive effort leads to no-change in overall organisational performance, and in the worst cases, performance improvement initiatives do damage to organisational performance, when employees perceive the initiative as a waste of money, time and a mask for disingenuous leadership intentions.
And yet the standard approach to 'Change' prevails, devoid of any depth of understanding the psychology and neuroscience of change in the people who 'ARE' the organisation and it's performance. It really is a case of 'The Emperor's New Clothes'.
Fortunately, the neuroscience and psychology is now 'knowable'. All you have to do is recognise the power that comes with such knowledge, then give us a call.
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