How will organization culture change be planned and communicated to employees and other vested stakeholders? And how will your culture shift as you develop your organization to increasingly align with your strategic goals?
As you seek to grow your organization by maximizing its culture, you’ll need to communicate change. To best do that, you can develop competencies in your organization to create – and communicate – the best culture to serve your business strategy.
It’s Ultimately About Improving Performance
Strategic organizational culture change is ultimately about improving performance – both in your organization’s processes and its people.
Many nonprofit leaders see change management as a reactive process. But what about proactively readying your agency and your people – and yourself – for change before it’s even a blip on the radar?
Change readiness is a behavior competency that can become a part of your organizational culture. Placing change and change management at the center of your organization gives you the influence to redesign people’s development, and give them the skills and tools necessary to make “change” a core competency of your company.
Some hallmarks of change competency include:
• Awareness: an ability to scan the external environment and internal organization for change
• Adaptability: the degree to which an employee or organization is flexible and agile
• Anticipation: consistent optimism about the future with the understanding that change is inevitable
• Attention: clear focus on individual and organizational goals at hand regardless of impending change
Successful Competency Development Starts at the Top
You and your leadership team members must be prepared to take on those change-readiness characteristics and model them as you roll out a transformational approach to change within your organization.
Are awareness, adaptability, anticipation, and attention behaviors that your employees and you consistently exhibit? Are they woven into the fabric of your organization’s culture?
As you develop your people to be change competent and your culture to be change ready, be prepared to approach change holistically and systemically. This will ensure that change initiatives stick.
• Align goals to create a clear understanding of the link between change competencies and individual performance to the overall outputs of the organization.
• Promote best practices though custom training activities that focus on personal and professional development and team learning to support change competencies across the organization.
• Encourage learning by providing a collaborative training experience using organization-specific content to foster team building, knowledge sharing, peer coaching, and mentoring.
Strategic Communication Management
At Brighter Strategies, we believe that no program, process, or initiative can be successful if it stays in the C-suite. Communication organization-wide (and stakeholder-wide) reinforces the shared norms, values, and behaviors that you want to develop.
Here are the hallmarks of an organization culture that communicates change, ensuring that performance is effectively and efficiently meeting business goals and aligning resources to business priorities.
The organization’s strategic goals are clearly defined, aligned with performance outcomes, and communicated throughout the entire organization. Employees at all levels of the agency can identify these goals and understand how they relate to individual performance expectations.
Trust and risk-taking
Employees feel comfortable taking risks to achieve performance outcomes because the organization promotes a trusting environment. In such a “safe space,” individuals are not afraid to fail, and innovation thrives.
When an organization upholds candor and trust, openness is a natural result. Employees are more honest and ask questions freely. The organization is one in which its talent is not only a perceived strength, but a real contributor to performance success.
The organization encourages employees to create performance goals that play to their natural strengths. Employees feel empowered to develop skills and behaviors that are important to them and their career aspirations. Organization performance is at its peak when such talent performance is optimized.
The Leadership Role
As a leader, you’re responsible for driving culture in your organization. Creating a healthy environment that emphasizes good communication is certainly not easy, but it starts at the top.
First, walk the talk. Communicate with staff clearly and frequently, and be open and honest – always. Role modeling these behaviors takes self-awareness and personal reflection. If necessary, find a coach who can support you in developing such qualities.
Second, reward risk-taking and even failure when it occurs in pursuit of performance outcomes. As you manage employee performance, be accountable to your own contributions to the organization’s success.
Finally, reinvent your performance management system to cultivate employee strengths. Grow comfortable with your own strengths and be open to opportunities for improvement. Surround yourself with people who complement your natural abilities and fill in the gaps.
How will you take the first step to create a culture of communication in your organization this year? Let me know!