Where you find your business right now is the right place to start, if you want to improve the results you are currently enjoying, by evolving your current culture. It is important to know that the current culture within your organisation is not a bad culture; it is merely a culture, which can produce a certain outcome or result. If you want to produce a different result, then you will need to make a few shifts to inspire your people to think and act in a manner that will produce the different result. It is seldom necessary to total transform the culture within any organisation. More often than not, all that is required is a few shifts in thinking and activity, which is facilitated through changes in the daily experiences people are exposed to.

Unless you invest effort to introduce the new culture, which will produce the new results you want to see in your business, you will be unable to realise those new results. The old culture will never produce different results. You can never expect the old culture to magically abandon its powerful, persistent existing attributes and miraculously produce different results. That can never happen, no matter how many resources you throw behind attempting to flog the old culture to produce different results.

Action Idea: The way to start the process of shifting culture, to produce the desired results, is by first defining the shifts needed to the way people think and act within the organisation. This means that you need to explore ways of introducing a new experience into your business, which will help to shift the beliefs or the way people think, so that they will be inspired to act differently. Understanding how a shift or evolution in culture can produce remarkably different results in your business, puts a really powerful tool in the hands of the leader. They have a tool that is so persistent and powerful that it will even outlive the personal influence of the leader.
I was speaking to a CEO from a large organisation a few months ago and he highlighted the power and longevity of a great culture in a business. He was transferred to a branch of their business in Spain early in his career, in a junior leadership position. He returned a number of years later to head up that same division in the company. Although there were very few of the original people left in the business unit, the culture was essentially the same.

There is a disputed experiment, which was conducted using five monkeys, a ladder, a bunch of bananas and a cold water spray system, which was attached to the roof of the cage, which supports this theory. Some people dispute whether this experiment ever happened. There is however enough supportive evidence from similar experiments done by Stephenson (1967) using Rhesus monkeys to support this story, so I am going to tell it, as it is a really powerful example of how persistent belief and behaviour, can be continued even when the people, who started the belief or behaviour are no longer around.

Five monkeys were placed in a cage with a bunch of bananas suspended from the roof. A ladder was strategically placed under the bananas. As each monkey tried in turn to climb the ladder to eat the bananas, a hard blast of pressurised freezing cold water was sprayed on all the monkeys in the cage. The monkeys very quickly learnt that if any one of them tried to get to the bananas, everyone in the cage got sprayed with the freezing cold high pressure water. After a very short time the monkeys gave up and ignored the bananas. They then removed one of the monkeys and put a new monkey into the cage.

As this monkey had never been exposed to the cold water spray, they immediately went for the bananas. Before the monkey could even reach the ladder the other four monkeys attacked the new monkey, until it learnt not to touch the bananas. Over time all the old monkeys were removed and replaced with new monkeys, who had never even been sprayed with the jets of freezing cold water. The new monkeys never went near the bananas, the behaviour had been transferred to the new group of monkeys and they did not even know why they could not eat the bananas.

We as humans exhibit the same sort of behaviour in our work environments. The beliefs within the organisation are never communicated via memos or emails, it is just a knowing, a set of beliefs about the way things are done in the business. These beliefs are usually spoken about, by starting the sentence with “Around Here” followed by the belief or way of thinking. Unless you can introduce new experiences within your business to break or change these ingrained beliefs, it will be impossible to enjoy better or different results.

It is impossible to get people to change the way they act in their work environments, unless there is an accompanying change in beliefs or the way people think. When you consciously work to change the experience within your organisation, so that you can begin to help people to evolve and transform their beliefs, you are able to gradually change their actions and ultimately the results you are able to enjoy.

Shifting culture within any business is not an easy task, but is most certainly a necessity if any business wants to positively change their results. Culture change is facilitated using two distinct steps.

Exploration: This is the first part in the process, where the leadership within the organisation audits the current culture and establishes the strengths and weaknesses of the current culture. They also examine the beliefs, actions and experiences within the business and try to discover which part of the current culture will support the new results they are attempting to achieve and which part of the culture needs to be shifted.

Next the leadership team examines the current culture against any changes in the business environment and the results they are attempting to achieve. Using this as the foundation for creating the new culture, they then explore ways of introducing a different experience in their business, so that they can begin to shift the beliefs within their organisation. The new beliefs will drive the daily actions of each individual in their business. These new actions will result in the improved or different outcomes they are attempting to achieve.

Integration: The next phase is where the leadership team attempts to integrate the cultural changes into the current organisational systems and processes. This is achieved through a conscious effort on the part of the management team to introduce a new set of experiences, which will drive the development of a new set of beliefs within the business. It is crucial that the leadership team monitors the shifts in beliefs and culture and assess if the changes are having the desired effect on the results they are attempting to achieve.

The success of any culture change is dependent on the involvement of everyone in the process. As the process begins to gain momentum and big “MO” starts to play its part, the culture change becomes self-reinforcing and the better results actually become part of the foundational experience, which drives the creation of the new beliefs that you want to create.

As you are attempting to create the new culture, always try to encourage everyone in the organisation to be accountable for the culture shift. When everyone in the organisation makes a personal commitment to toward achieving the required results and they are constantly on the lookout for better ways to achieve these results, the process becomes self-sustaining.


Author's Bio: 

Andrew is an expert and master teacher that speaks and teaches self-leadership, expanded awareness, effectiveness, efficiency and productivity. He guides individuals and business professionals, to identify, prioritise and carry out the right activities, consistently, so that they can maximise their personal effectiveness and deliver their best; on time, every time. All the tools and techniques Andrew teaches; have been tested in the laboratory of his own life and the many successful businesses he has owned and led, over the past 20 years. These strategies have seen Andrew achieve financial independence and reach a point of harmonious balance in all areas of his life. His purpose is to help as many people as possible, achieve similar or better results and to show them how they can realise their full potential, both personal and professionally and to help them live a meaningful life, where they are fulfilled in all areas. http://www.andrewhorton.co.za