The culture eats strategy for breakfast is only a part of the truth as it eats change for lunch and profit for dinner

During the past years I have been driving and leading transformation in two very different companies. In both cases digitalisation and becoming more customer centric has been the originator for the need of change. Along the way I have observed, learned and made notes and want to share the key learnings here, to help you as a change driver.

According to my experience there are five key success factors or if not taken care of, pitfalls, on your way to permanent change.

PURPOSE AND GOALS

What is the main purpose of the change? If the purpose is solely to increase the revenue or growth the change will not happen as there is no direction for the change. Describe the reason from the customer, company, market and society point of view, for example. Then set both short and long term goals to define explicitly what you will achieve with this change. Long term today is not that long, max three years.

CULTURE

The culture eats strategy for breakfast is only a part of the truth as it eats change for lunch and profit for dinner.  There is no way to make the change happen, unless the cultural barriers are identified and eliminated. The top management need to be the driver and every co-worker a co-driver of the cultural change. Start with identifying the key cornerstones of your current and desired culture and work atmosphere. For closing the gaps make a good plan with reasonable amount of KPIs and details.

VALUES

With company values you describe your culture and way of working. Are your values inside out or outside in? How do they correlate to the success or experience of your customer? Together, towards something new, being brave and embracing mistakes – or having fun, becoming known and wealthy. Do your values breed the right kind of culture?

DECISION MAKING

You as the change driver need the power and mandate to both participate in all decision making and to make your own decisions when necessary. Define and make a plan how it will work with and in all the levels of organisation.

WAY OF WORKING

First you need to identify old bad habits and practices. Bad practices have similar impact as an ”Italian strike”. It looks like everyone is working hard, but majority of co-workers do what they want to do and when they want to do, instead of following the common agenda. Describe the process and all different steps and practises along it. Use text, visuals and numbers and the outcome will comprise both the story and the business case.

SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY AND URGENCY

Finally, make sure each individual function, team and co-worker have the same goals for the desired change. The change needs to be in the job description and bonus model of the whole organisation, not only yours.

To make the change happen you need to have five different sets of goals:  what do WE need to change and achieve NOW, in 3 months, 6 months, one year and 2 years. Three years in most cases is too far away so don’t waste your time and energy there.

The most important in addition to all above is, that you have to have the company management as your main and full supporters. There is no way to succeed, if somebody has a different agenda.

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