July 3, 2018
July 3, 2018
There is a lot of talk about cultural change across organisations at the moment. Companies are responding to changes in technology, expectations of their customers and to a lesser extent their employees.
But what is cultural change? Basically it is a desire to change the current culture. We are examining the combination of behaviours and values that influence our decisions, actions and choices.
Sometimes companies over complicate the process of cultural change. In most cases, organisations try to improve a large collection of behaviours rather than focussing on 1 or 2 at a time. Imagine the significant difference that can be achieved, when every employee adheres to a specific value.
Changing organisational culture works best when you focus on finding and sharing stories about employees demonstrating the desired behaviours and values. Generate stories about leaders, regardless of position or title, acting in way that aligns with company values.
Let me share with you an example of how this can play out. My two daughters go to Melbourne Girls College in Richmond and the in the latest newsletter, the Principal shared the following story.
Recently, I received an email which verified, yet again, the spirit of MGC students. In essence the message read:
‘A few weeks ago my Year 7 daughter who catches the 48 tram shared with me something that had happened on her way to school.
One morning, the tram broke down not far past the Kew Depot. This meant that she, and the many other MGC girls had to figure out their way to school. The girls all started walking but a couple of the older girls took the lead, with some others at the back, and between them organised the girls on the walk to school, ensuring no-one was left behind or lost. They asked the girls to walk together and called out encouragement to each other not to fall behind.
I had expected that the girls would kind of just ‘follow-the-leader’. I was really surprised and very impressed that there seemed to be a conscious effort to look after each other. For the older girls to look out for the younger ones. For my daughter who is new to the school and to public transport, this was something she remarked on as being really notable and impressive.
I wanted to share this very simple story with you as in my view, the fact that this was an everyday event and yet seemed to be such a natural part of the older girls’ approach speaks volumes to their characters and the values the school is fostering.’
No doubt you will not be surprised with this kind of thing but it’s becoming increasingly rare across the community and very heartening to see this being fostered at MGC.
So what has sharing this story achieved?
Firstly, it has publicly acknowledged the students involved and congratulated them on their behaviour.
Secondly, it has produced a sense of pride. I know as a parent I felt extremely proud of being part of the school when I read this.
Thirdly, and this is perhaps the real power, by sharing the story the Principal has subtly communicated that this is the behaviour we expect from all our students. No telling, no yelling, no rules, just an expectation set through the story.
How are you finding and sharing the stories in your company to create the culture you want?