Cultural change is an interesting beast; it can be hard, it can be frustrating, it can be one step forward, two steps back. But for all of that, the rewards can also be enormous.
Imagine, if you will, an organization that has completely transformed itself – the way it acts, the way it thinks, the way it approaches its customers and clients. That transformation does not take place overnight. And it doesn’t take place with one person (usually the leader) prescribing it to be so.
Cultural change occurs with the ongoing, persistent engagement of key people – employees, customers. And engagement, by its very nature is not one way. It isn’t just ‘advising’ people of the change. It is getting them to buy into the change. Getting them to feel the change, getting them to understand the change. Eventually – getting them to want the change; or at the very least – not fear it.
This process is messy. It requires patience, and persistence.
It requires that the leader can constantly reference the “why” we’re doing this – to show how it is going to make things better.
It requires the leader to let go a bit, to not have all the answers. For the leader to ask the questions, and to sit whilst the answers make themselves known. Even if this process is slow, uncomfortable and at times challenging.
It is a journey – and not a linear one at that.
It’s not for the faint of heart.
It’s not easy.
If it were – everyone would do it.
But it is worth it. Oh my, is it worth it. If you can get it right, if you can truly engage your stakeholders with the why, if you can get them to help you with the what and the how, and the who.. Then. Well, then, anything is pretty much possible.
And the flip side is, if you don’t do it. If you don’t get it right. Well, what then?