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9 Cultural Norms that Position for Continuous Change and the Success of Change Masters — Part I (Commitment)

“The fastest way to change yourself is to hang out with people who are already the way you want to be.” – Reid Hoffman, co-founder LinkedIn

In my 20 years of experience as a speaker, author, and serial Change Master, I have witnessed firsthand the transformative nature of cultivating a strong organizational culture – one that is conducive to the pursuit of continuous change and that positions Change Masters to execute with agility and excellence.

Recent McKinsey research shows that 77% of change initiatives fail. The investment into the development of high impact Change Masters is therefore more important than ever.

What is it about great Change Masters that they can so effectively disrupt the status quo? Change Masters are courageous; they are not afraid to advance initiatives and make decisions that go against dissenting opinions. As high potential, high performing leaders they are driven by the need to simplify complexity and bring clarity to ambiguity. Change Masters see a future that others do not. They appeal to the heart (emotion) and then the head (logic). They are unlikely to give up easily. They recognize that an organization can and must continuously change.

Most importantly, Change Masters breed the development of new Change Masters. This optimizes for the efficient, effective, and innovative execution of disruptive and enduring change initiatives.

Creating and cultivating a culture that stimulates continuous change and that positions Change Masters to succeed is paramount. These are the cultural norms, whose embeddedness into an organization, I have learned, are most predictive of the achievement of enduring transformative change:

  1. Unwavering Commitment
  2. Results Focus
  3. Resiliency
  4. Innovative Thinking & Action
  5. Transparency
  6. Empowerment
  7. Universal Accountability
  8. Inclusivity and Belonging
  9. Inclusive Approach to Conflict Resolution

I invite you to consider the foundational cultural norm – Unwavering Commitment – as you create your own high-performance culture that positions for continuous, enduring change and in turn competitive sustainability.

Cultivating a Culture for Change: Setting Commitment in Motion

Making a commitment to the creation of a breeding ground for continuous change, improvement and sustainability starts with ensuring that your organization’s Mission, Vision, Goals, Strategies and Metrics for Success are embraced up and down your organization. Your Change Masters — influential passionate champions — are uniquely positioned to carry the message.

You may be surprised to find that various stakeholders hold different perceptions about the organization’s direction, achievements and need to change. Empower your Change Masters to make space for the voice of such team members. Your Change Masters are in turn generally savvy to communications tactics that lead to a shared understanding of – and commitment to – the realization of your organization’s Mission, Vision, Goals, Strategies and Metrics for Success.

As stakeholders achieve a shared understanding of and commitment to the what, the why and the how (thanks to the advocacy of your best Change Masters) leaders need to aggressively role model the above seven cultural norms and celebrate the same by team members up and down the organization. I recommend the creation of a kind of “social contract” using language similar to the following:

We share an organization wide commitment to the development of the following cultural norms. They speak to the shared attitudes and beliefs that we seek for every employee to internalize — to a cellular level — to support our ability to continuously change and perpetuate the sustainability of our organization. They focus on how we conduct business, treat our team members, and enhance the well-being of all of [organization’s name] employees. Their practice will support our ability to position as a best-in-class provider of [insert value proposition]:

  1. Unwavering Commitment
  2. Results Focus
  3. Resilience
  4. Innovative Thinking and Action
  5. Transparency
  6. Empowerment
  7. Universal Accountability

Are you ready to cultivate a culture that is conducive to continuous change and improvement, and that breeds the development of Change Masters who can effectively lead and execute with agility and excellence? Email me if I can help. In the meantime download my 5 Secrets to Becoming a Change Master.

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