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Thursday, 04 July 2013 06:06

If culture eats strategy for lunch, change management is part of a healthy breakfast, II

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Part 2 of 2:  It's all about balance

Last time, we talked about the importance of balancing culture and strategy, and what happens when they get out of balance.


After Shawn Parr wrote his (somewhat polarizing) piece, 'Culture Eats Strategy For Lunch', he followed it up with 'Don't Let Culture Vultures Scuttle Your Strategy', in which he clarified that he did, in fact, believe in the marriage of culture + strategy.

One of the most salient lines in the second piece was this:

"Strategy is rational and culture is emotional."

And here we have the essence of great change management.  In order to properly balance culture and strategy, you must recognize that while plans on paper may be entirely rational, they are ultimately carried out by people - who tend to operate emotionally.

Example:  Company B

Company B is just emerging from some very hard years - or at least they thought they were.  Only a few months ago, they were talking about how rosy their future looked, but now they're back to trying to figure out how to make their numbers.  Their 'engagement survey' results have never looked better, but somehow that hasn't translated into increased sales.

What does this really mean for Company B?

Well, it means that the people working within the organization are probably feeling like they've been on a roller-coaster ride for the past couple of years.  One day they think they're 'safe'; the next, they're getting the message that they're in jeopardy.  They're unclear what the strategy should be, and their not confident that the decisions they're making are the right ones.  In other words, they're caught between behaving rationally and behaving emotionally.

How the right change management approach can help

Balancing the rational and emotional elements of change management involves 3 key factors:

  • Establishing a core business strategy
  • Acknowledging the emotional implications or the existing situation and for the imminent change process - for the individual and the organizational culture
  • Ensuring consistency over time, even as change is happening

Establishing a core business strategy addresses the need for a 'rational' goal that everyone can get behind; acknowledging the emotional implications addresses the culture growing pains that will occur; and ensuring consistency alleviates the uncertainty engendered by the previous 'roller-coaster ride' that was preventing forward movement.

Read 26347 times Last modified on Thursday, 11 July 2013 07:10

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Beth Banks Cohn, PhD, founder and president of ADRA Change Architects, is dedicated to helping you and your organization reach your full business potential…
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