Embedding Your Change in the Culture

It’s an easy trap. You’ve seen it before. The change project currently underway becomes the “flavor of the month”. Employees endure it and think, “this too shall pass” because there’s another change that will come after this one.

How do you ensure your change actually sticks?

It’s about embedding it into your culture…and culture change takes time. Culture change is a journey, not a sprint. It takes time and abundant commitment.

Culture change means:

  • Sustained behavior change
  • A new way of thinking; shifting mindsets
  • A new normal
  • Adapting traditions or “the way we’ve always done it”
  • Deliberately thinking through different vocabulary and terminology
  • Updating measures and reward systems
  • Walk must = talk, especially from leaders / sponsors
  • Revising training and onboarding
  • Assessing hiring practices for impacts

All of these adjustments require listening to what’s working along the way and what’s not. Sponsors of the change project must make tough decisions around removing obstacles and providing resources.

When you pull some of these levers during a culture change, but not others, it sends mixed messages to the organization. Consistency in messages enables employees to find credibility in the desired future state.

They realize “maybe this one is going to last after all, so I should get on board”. Take the time to think through all of the impacts of your change when you want it to endure.

Betsy Winkler is a Partner at PeopleResults. She can be reached on Twitter @BetsyWinkler1