Transforming Organizational Culture

Efficient organizations are forever changing to learn information, adapt to current climates, and stay a step ahead of the competition. Change isn’t an easy task to harness, especially when we are talking about changing an entire culture of an organization.  A culture has been developed from years of experiences which then forms a way of worklife. Have you ever attempted to change your own “way of life”? Whether it has been dieting or relocating from a hot climate to a cold climate. Change is a tough task to deal with.

Today, I read an interesting excerpt by Joseph M. Patrnchak entitled Building Belief: The Five Keys to Lasting Cultural Transformation. The excerpt explains the process of how The Cleveland Clinic was transformed from a “respected but not liked” organization into a highly engaged organization by changing it’s culture. Joseph discusses everything between small changes in organizational language to large initiatives such as leadership changes. Not the replacement of physical bodies and their positions but the replacement of the current leadership’s thought process, behaviors, and responds. He introduced Robert K. Greenleaf’s servant leadership as a suitable leadership style for the type of organization. Servant leadership is the concept that a leader should be a servant before anything else. The needs of the employees should be above the leader’s own needs and the power should be shared throughout the organization. Change champions, training, and awards initiatives were introduces as well in a support to change the culture.

In summary, the excerpt determined five keys to sustaining culture change.

  1. Acknowledge the dissatisfaction/problem
  2. Catch the vision and turn it into a cause
  3. Care for the employees so they will take care of the customers
  4. Hard wire the change into every aspect of the leadership development
  5. Commit to a long process of transformation

Major initiatives to change the culture were mentioned and the initiatives produced great results. However, I’m curious to know about the details. Were there were any push back? What did it look like? How was it handled? The entire transformation was seamless, which is great! However, how realistic is that in changing an entire culture?  I’m simply thinking about how I can take the lessons introduced in this excerpt and potentially use them in my future career endeavors. Overall, I would recommend this read to my I/O Psychologist and HR friends!

 

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