Changing Organizational Culture

Posted by on Mar 16, 2010 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Several times clients have asked me “how do I change the culture in my organization to become one that constantly seeks continuous improvement?”  One way to approach this problem is to look at it as any other problem an organization may have.  The first thing to do is to understand the current situation.  Where are we today?  What areas take continuous improvement seriously?  What areas in the organization are constantly putting out fires and never available to work on continuous improvement projects?

Once the current situation is understood, the next step is to determine what is preventing us from becoming a continuous improvement driven organization?  What values does the organization have?  What is important to the organization and what gets rewarded?  What areas or functions are continuously in the “fire fighting” mode?

Each issue that prevents you from getting to your goal of continuous improvement needs to be addressed.  How will each issue be addressed?  What will be the plan?  Who needs to be involved?  What are the concerns of the stakeholders?  What is the timing for each issue?  Are the leaders of the organization on the same page?  What is the vision?  Some issues will be easy and should be addressed quickly.  Others will take more time.

Communication to everyone in the organization is critical!  Communication must start at the top with the CEO.  The message must be clear that continuous improvement is how we will conduct business going forward and that every employee must be given time to work on continuous improvement projects.  This message must cascade through the organization at all levels.  Project completion should be recognized and employees congratulated for doing a great job.

Many issues must be considered before deploying a continuous improvement program.  A leadership council must be formed that represents the functions within the organization and a deployment champion selected to lead and administer the process.  This is not an easy task and must be well thought out.  The plan must be developed, implemented, and executed well.  Discipline to the process is key!

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