Leaders have an important role in the success of a cultural transformation. They must provide the support employees require to begin making behavioural changes, and they can help move the entire organisation toward a more effective mode of operation. Here, we look at five things leaders can do to prepare for a cultural transformation:
Define and Share Your Vision
Successful cultural transformation requires long-term commitment and a vision for change. In order for employees to understand the journey they’re about to embark upon, the leaders must clearly define the change, and share the reason that such change is required.
Communication is key. Employees must clearly understand how the change impacts their individual roles, and have the opportunity to share any concerns and ask questions of the senior team in order that they are able to fully support the programme of change.
Develop a Timeline
Cultural transformation, like any other major initiative, requires a robust timeline that maps out key milestones that will enable the organisation to meet its end goal. Without a detailed plan, cultural transformation can quickly become a never-ending process of seemingly unrelated change that will be difficult for employees to understand and commit to.
A timeline not only provides guidance and keeps the process on track, it can also provide opportunities for leaders to recognise success and celebrate the work accomplished up to that point, build support for the change process as it progresses.
Preparation is Key
Whilst the idea of cultural change can be daunting, a change programme is much more likely to achieve success if employees feel adequately prepared for the change.
The leadership team driving the cultural change should take the time to consult with employees, and listen and address their worries and concerns. Ideally, the leadership team will have anticipated and be prepared to answer many questions about how the change will directly affect employees.
It can be particularly effective to gauge the readiness of the workforce to undertake cultural change by learning more about what employees think about current corporate culture, via meetings, focus groups and surveys.
Train for Success
As the culture of an organisation begins to transform, employees will be expected to display new behaviours. In order for the change to be successful, the leadership team should anticipate these new behaviours and provide training and guidance for employees as to what is expected of them.
Workforce training also provides a safe environment for employees to learn and become familiar with these new skills in a risk-free environment.
Develop Change Champions
It is not only the general workforce that will benefit from a robust training programme. All leaders within an organisation will benefit from training early in the process that teaches effective coaching, communication, and educates leaders on the behaviours that support cultural change.
By creating ‘change champions’ at the leadership level, employees will feel more motivated and empowered to deliver change at their own level.
As with any organisational initiative, cultural change requires commitment, time, and understanding from the leadership team in order to be successful. By establishing a vision, planning the process, and ensure employees are fully supported with information, training, and a strong leadership team, your organisation will be well on the way to achieving lasting cultural transformation.
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