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Changing organisational cultures

You cannot change an organisation’s culture overnight, but there are a few things that you can change quickly that will help improve it…

Organisational Culture

Behaviours – I wouldn’t suggest that all behavioural changes become habit right away, but small incremental changes can be consciously practiced before they become embedded in the culture. Start small and build it up.


Consequences – an action based on an outcome, whether the action was positive or negative requires a response. A lack of consequences leads to apathy. Not only this but missed opportunities to apply corrective inputs or praise and encourage positive actions. Consequences provide an excellent opportunity for learning and providing feedback.


Communication – a lack of communication can leave an organisation rudderless and filling in the blanks for itself. Regular communication, via various mediums, allows news and information to be shared. Effective communication also allows people to be heard. To have a voice. To engage with initiatives and with each other. It’s imperative for building trust.


High performance leadership – this is a whole topic in its own right but having sound ethical, moral, and high performance leadership sets the standards and expectations of others. Influential leaders can set the direction of travel in an organisation (both positive and negative) and therefore utilising this resource properly is an imperative. If an organisation’s leaders are not setting the standards – who will?


Actions – the old adage ‘actions speak louder than words’, well yes, they often do. Taking steps or corrective actions give a tangible example and demonstration that things can and will be done, and can be a powerful sign or metaphor.


There are any number of different methodologies, theories and practices that can contribute to positive cultural changes. It’s also important to realise the opposite to any of the above are danger areas -poor behaviour, lack of consequences, poor comms, low leadership standards and a lack of action all conspire together to undermine positive cultures and can have long-lasting negative effects. As with most things, it takes time and perseverance. There’s no magic wand or AI that can magic away years of organisational neglect – but positive changes can begin right away...

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