Cultures are changing whether you’re leading it or not

Three6 | 12 May 2020


Your culture is changing. It always has and it always will, but sometimes it may shift ever so slightly and other times, like now, it’s rapidly evolving with the environmental transformations we’re all experiencing.

Are you leading the inevitable culture change or are you sitting back waiting to see how it looks once the dust settles? If you could, I’m sure most of you would choose to stay ahead of the change so just how do you do that?

As leaders we all know that our strategy, our operating model and more will change in the near future – the purpose of our organisations are perpetual.

Have you considered using your organisation’s purpose to drive/build your aspired culture? It provides a sense of clarity, direction and alignment for your organisation.

A genuine organisational purpose can enable transformation by providing meaning that connects to and motivates employees, aligns focussed performance and collaboration and creates a positive role for the organisation in its community. Research demonstrates that over time purpose-led organisations perform better because people feel that their role and organisation represent a higher meaning. Employees are 11x more likely to stay, and 14x more likely to look forward to going to work (Forbes, 2019).

So if you’re in the midst of a cultural transformation, should you be proactive in helping lead the culture you desire or take a passive approach to allowing it to evolve and foster organically?

The answer is, it all depends!

The first step is to understand where you are now, this can be done with observation, conversations or through a more data-driven survey approach.

From there, we all have the ability to evaluate the cultural changes that are happening within our organisation, take some time to consider the changes to the following:

  • The way people interact
  • The context with which knowledge is created and shared
  • The resistance people have to change
  • Leadership styles, environments, values, norms, beliefs and habits
  • Assumptions about the workplace that guides behaviour

Once you have a good understanding of the changes to your current culture, evaluate if they align to your organisational purpose and ask yourself – does this culture change epitomise our purpose and do these characteristics bring our purpose to life?

In the long run, your culture transformations may embed themselves for good so it’s important to understand how your culture is changing now and evaluate in real-time if it’s a positive transformation that is aligned to your purpose.

Identify the gaps in the current versus desired culture and proactively and deliberately lead initiatives that help shape a culture that is more aligned to your purpose, one that motivates your people and propels you towards your organisational vision.

If you’d like help conducting your own culture assessment, send us a