Managing Change

           

 
SKILLBUILDER 2: Relying on Culture in Times of Change
 

A 2013 survey about the influence of culture on organizational change: CULTURE AND CHANGE: Why Culture Matters and How It Makes Change Stick.

Results:

84% believe culture is critical to business success

60% think culture is more important than strategy or operating model

54% think a major overhaul is currently needed in their culture

35% think their company culture is effectively managed

 

So, the majority of those surveyed think culture is vital to success and just as many believe that culture in their workplace needs an overhaul or is not being managed effectively.  What does this say about culture?  Two things: that it’s important and we are doing a very good job of establishing and managing it.

 

As you know, our recent Go Big initiative is aimed at addressing this gap.  Across Student Affairs, we have developed and agreed upon what we call an aspirational (not quite there, but working toward it) culture statement:

Student Affairs is a great workplace where staff trust the people they work with, take pride in what they do, and feel a sense of community in support of the student experience.

The Importance of Culture in Times of Change

Depending on the context, culture can be described in many different ways.  In terms of ‘organizational culture’ it also means different things to different people.  In terms of Go Big, we are looking at culture simply as the values we believe in and practice and what those values ‘look like’ in the workplace.  As a consultant said in a recent article, culture is how we do business.  If you were to observe meetings, one-on-one interactions, teams-in-action, you would see consistent patterns of behavior that reflect that organization’s culture.

 

So in terms of change, why is culture so important?  For many people, times of change are hard.  They look at change as a bad thing, largely because it brings uncertainty and with it, fear.  The last thing you want in times like these is for the culture to change or collapse from the weight of the unknown.  During times of change, the culture (beliefs, values, behaviors) needs to be stronger than ever.