Organizational Culture Change Process
The OCAI Assessment has been completed; all participants have received their personal profiles, and a report has been compiled with the collective results. Now is the time to start using the outcome of the survey. The cultural assessment is often the first intervention in corporate culture. It makes people aware of “how we do things around here” and prompts expectations of change...
Diagnose and change organizational culture
The assessment is the beginning of a change process. The OCAI provides a general, visual and quantitative overview of current and preferred culture. But the typical meanings, details, behaviors and indicators have to be customized to your organization. What typical behaviors do we display that match our culture type? In small workshop groups, people discover typical behaviors and beliefs, and what needs to change to move toward a desired future. If you want change to stick, there’s no general 1-2-3 recipe. You can utilize “outsiders” to guide the process, but the insiders are the ones who know the organization best - and might have a clue for the biggest leverage. The insiders must take ownership of the change and actually do it.
From beliefs to behavior
In a OCAI workshop or Change Circle, participants meet and discuss the outcome. The purpose is to reach consensus on current and preferred cultures, to specify them and chunk down from values to daily behavior. Culture concepts are nice, but we have to make culture operational for our account managers, sales guys, front desk staff and back office workers. It has to be tangible and specific - tied to behaviors. Together, we develop a change program to move toward the new culture. The OCAI Work Kit will supply you with a manual, workshop schedules, exercises and presentation slides to go through this process.
Inform, involve, engage, energize!
But why is this process so important? Why would you bother to engage as many participants as possible? This is one of the advantages of the OCAI process. It is involving and helps to build employee engagement. First, people become aware by doing the survey and seeing their personal profile. Next, they get together to have a dialogue about what needs to change. They co-create the change and take ownership of their personal development. They support each other to stick with the change in small teams.
The reason that consensus and true agreement are so important is that we can't order the others to change. Culture entails our beliefs and behaviors. I can't order you to see things differently and act accordingly - without engaging you. Top-down may seem fast but evokes resistance and sabotage. People may not agree with measures that were implemented top down. People also need perseverance to change. Energy is needed to pull the carriage out of the mud and get going again. Small teams or Change Circles may keep your organization going, while people support each other to practice the new behaviors and do what they agreed to.
Time saved for success
When you’ve spent this time and effort at the beginning of your change process, you have a better chance of success. Time spent in advance is time saved in the end. It may be the difference between the 70% failure rate of change and successful change that sticks.
In this “bottom up” process of reaching consensus about current and preferred culture and understanding it thoroughly, you win more than just the hearts and minds of your staff. In this process you’re able to build trust and to detect second thoughts, objections and doubts and solve them together. This will reduce the chance of sabotage and enhance commitment, even enthusiasm and engagement. You will also gain new information from all levels, giving you the chance to come up with a better plan, that’s improved by feedback from different positions and owned by everyone.
The change process with OCAI workshops will get you:
- Qualitative, customized information and an understanding of culture by all participants
- Information from all sides, positions and perspectives and hence, better and more creative changes to implement
- Commitment and readiness to change (provided that you seriously work around/through objections)
- Engagement and ownership
This process ensures some of the necessary conditions for successful, sustainable change.
Work with them in workshops
But is it feasible? Yes, it can be done. Generally there are two separate ways to organize the OCAI workshops: the entire organization does the workshops in their own teams or the workshops are held with volunteers from all levels.
The first is to roll out from the top down, starting with the top executives, followed by all the other teams. All teams down to the shop floor can take part in the OCAI workshop. From values to behavior, everyone works out the culture and its change program within the overall direction, developed by the top executives.
The second possibility is to work with people who volunteer for the workshops. In this case, the participants come from different levels and departments. They will formulate a change plan, and then become the ambassadors of change within the organization. In large organizations, this means several workshop days with different groups and combining all the results.
The OCAI workshop(s)
Getting to work with your OCAI results and utilizing culture:
- Current culture: elaboration (specified examples of current identity, tacit beliefs, assumptions, meanings, capacities, behavior, environment and outcomes)
- Exploring the future: what’s our strategy and goals?
- Knowing this, do we agree on the preferred culture?
- Preferred culture: evaluation; should we adapt the profile to be fit for the future?
- Preferred culture: elaboration (specified examples of future identity, tacit beliefs, assumptions, meanings, capacities, behavior, environment and tangible outcomes)
- Plan of change: How will we evolve to the new culture?
- Identify actions, blockages and solutions
- Plan of implementation: make choices and prioritize
- Finally: find illustrative stories to support the change
Want to Learn this Change Process?
OCAI Online offers several options to learn how to guide culture change with the OCAI. Marcella Bremer wrote a practical book, stuffed with cases: Organizational Culture Change - Unleash your Organization's Potential in Circles of 10. We offer two video trainings to see how it's done. Or, join our live 2-day open workshop or book this workshop for your team. You can find more information when you navigate to our OCAI Products Page.