Culture is sometimes treated as some mystical element in an organization. However, far away from this unfair treatment, the culture of an organization can be objectively described by the way people do things in the company: what gets done, how it gets done, and why it gets done.
Every organization has its own culture and it has brought them to where they are, since, nothing comes from nothing, and the results of an organization are the outcome of what people in the company do.
However, Business flexibility is an expected outcome of High-Performance Organization, and sometimes, in order to adapt to the business needs, HPO companies require developing successfully their cultures: the way their people think, behave and execute every day under any circumstance.
These changes imply individuals’ transition to the new culture. However, at times, people’s hearts aren’t sure all change is good. Change can be uncomfortable and each person experiences it in a different way. People, not always consciously, handle change in two ways:
People with this response focus inside, on themselves. Their attitude is that change helps them grow and that they can make a difference. They search for the positives and accept ownership to make choices and help guide the change. They focus on changes they can control or influence, and minimize energy invested on changes that concern them but are powerless to control.
People with this response focus on the external environment. Their attitude is that change is a threat, which it is “done to them.” They are:
• Victims “There is nothing I can do.”
• Defenders “I will resist this change and hold onto the past.”
• Deniers They sit on the sidelines, not engaging, and hoping that the change will pass.
Leaders in High-Performance Organizations are expected to be key players when the company needs to change or adapt its culture according to the business needs. In this sense, leaders need to consider that a company achieves a High-Performing Culture when everyone in the organization (without exception) shares the same behaviors and those behaviors are exactly the ones that the company needs to deliver results beyond expectations.
Leaders also need to realize that they normally go through this process ahead of others, but like a marathon, the race isn’t over until everyone crosses the finish line.
As a consequence, to get this 100% of people alignment, individual resistance to change must be dealt and this is not always an easy task. People don’t always consciously resist change and neither don’t always try to retain the existing culture, but their ingrained thought patterns and inherent comfort with the status quo keep them operating and behaving in familiar patters unless the right conditions exist.
For this reason, leadership needs to enable four key conditions in order to win with individual transition in a process of culture transformation and facilitate everyone to be part of creating the future:
Therefore, It can be stated that, in order to win with individuals’ change in a process of Culture transformation, leaders need to understand which is the response to the change from their people (proactive or reactive) and for each of those reactions to change, address each of the areas described in the figure above.
The experiences in High-Performance Organizations demonstrate that the probability of success of 100% individuals’ transition is directly tied to how well these needs are met. However, this process requires a situational approach and how much is “enough” always depends on the strength of existing habits in individuals.