3 tools to adopt to conquer culture change

3 tools to adopt to conquer culture change

workplace culture

Corporate leaders tell us change is the biggest challenge they’re facing today. Why? Constant change makes it difficult to remain relevant and to create value for customers.

Humans tend to hate change. Whether it’s introducing a state-of-the-art computer program or transitioning a company to a wholly new and innovative way of working, our brains literally create chemical pain that says, please stop all that new work.

So, instead of enjoying the challenges that come with trying something new, we resist.

Our brains are elastic and can, in fact, adapt, but it’s not a smooth, easy or comfortable process. It’s tough enough for the people at the top to think about reworking processes and policies; imagine the difficulties when you’re talking about altering the culture of an entire workplace.

Companies have cultures, whether they know it or not. That culture is an amalgam of core values, beliefs, and behaviors that pertain to the business and the way it is conducted. Employees live out that culture every day.

Employees live out a company's culture every day. ~Andie Simon Click To Tweet

Getting employees on board when the corporate culture has to evolve can be a challenge. However, if company leaders provide purpose to the changes by showing how they’ll improve business and create stability after the transition, they have a better shot at a quicker buy-in.

To do that, though, they have to get out of the office. They have to witness first-hand how customers use the product or service, and they have to interact with employees.

3 tools to take control of change

I suggest that leaders adopt an “anthropologist’s tool kit” and do these three things to aid them in changing the culture of their organization. Leaders need to:

  • Conduct observational research. 

Consider shadowing clients and employees as they use a product or service. Find out what their challenges are, and what trends they see that have them concerned or excited.

Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose. ~Zora Neale Hurston, author

  • Find customers’ pain points.

What happens when someone contacts the company’s customer service center? What works and what doesn’t? Are emails and phone calls answered? What happens when people visit the website? If responses are delayed or unsatisfactory, find out why.

Wisdom is nothing more than healed pain. ~Robert Gary Lee, comic

  • Use culture probes and storytelling.

What are the stories customers and employees could tell if they had a company leader’s ear? Put away any defensiveness and just listen.

Stories constitute the single most powerful weapon in a leader’s arsenal. ~Dr. Howard Gardner, professor Harvard University

I advise companies to expand the research role past the executive level. Allow team leaders and others to be a part of the company’s new story and encourage them to visualize how they can play new roles in an emerging business environment.

By doing that, they’ll be the energy behind your innovation.

About today’s guest contributor, Andi Simon, Ph.D. Andi Simon, a corporate anthropologist, professor, award-winning author, trainer, and speaker, is the founder and CEO of Simon Associates Management Consultants. She has appeared on “Good Morning America” and has been featured in the Washington Post, Business Week, Forbes, and on Bloomberg Radio.

Image credit before quote: Pixabay

 

 

 

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How women in leadership roles can change the workplace

How women in leadership roles can change the workplace

women and leadershipAs women have taken on greater leadership roles in the business world, it’s paid off for both them and business.

A study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that firms with women in the C-suite were more profitable. Meanwhile, the number of female-owned businesses grew 45 percent from 2007 to 2016 compared to just a 9 percent growth in the number of businesses overall.

But will all those women in leadership roles change the workplace culture to make it more female friendly—and does it matter?

The power of culture

As a corporate anthropologist, I’m aware of the recent shift in thinking surrounding how cultures should be restructured in order for women to thrive in the workplace. This has caused me to ask: What type of culture do women really want and is it that different from what men want, too?

The results of my research were surprising.

It turns out that, in many ways, men and women want similar things in the workplace. Both prefer a strong clan culture that emphasizes collaboration, teamwork and a focus on people.

So what lessons does that hold for women who start their own businesses or are hired or promoted into leadership positions in existing businesses?

3 things for female leaders to do

Based on my personal experiences, and what I’ve learned from female business leaders I’ve interviewed, some of the ways women can succeed when leading an organization and make the workplace more attentive to the needs of both men and women include:

1) Create a culture that blends work and home.

I talked with the founder of one company that intentionally took a whole-life approach and didn’t force employees to choose between work and family. That company won all sorts of local awards for being one of the best places to work in the area.

2) Encourage staff to be innovators.

Often even the employees who think outside the box are reluctant to act outside the box for fear of repercussions if things don’t work out quite the way they hoped. But for innovation to happen, a good leader needs to empower employees to try new ideas.

3) Be an adventurer, stay curious.

If you expect your employees to try new ideas, you need to be willing to do so as well. Don’t worry about failing. Keep tinkering and trying stuff and sooner or later you’ll hit upon your a-ha moment.

My research shows that the females who know how to create success are not just building better businesses; they are changing the way people work.

The corporate cultures in women-run businesses reflect the personal beliefs and values of the women leading them, and those businesses tend to be highly successful.

What’s been your experience running or working in a women-run business?

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Andi Simon, today’s guest contributor and the author of On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights, is a corporate anthropologist and award-winning author. She is the founder and CEO of Simon Associates Management Consultants, a public speaker, an Innovation Games facilitator and trainer, and a tenured professor of anthropology and American studies at Ramapo College of New Jersey.

Image credit:  Pixabay

 

 

 

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