How to Manage Cultural Change Shifts within Your Business

- Simon Buck

Managing Cultural Change Shifts in Business

Company culture can be defined as a set of shared values, goals, attitudes and practices that characterize an organization. It’s the way people feel about the work they do, the values they believe in, where they see the company going and what they’re doing to get it there. In this blog, we’ll be looking at the cultural change which often comes about from being at a crossroads in the organisation’s journey or sometimes due to a vision change and reset button being needed. Culture can however be a little intangible, a little fluffy. So what can you put in place to ensure it’s made visible and more importantly that it’s lived and breathed. 

The contrary is we all know and have experienced the negative side of culture, it may have been a culture of blame, lack of teamwork, people not feeling valued or recognised for their effort or commitment. Culture is the glue that holds an organisation together and there are 100’s of books written on the subject, why? because it’s vital in the success of your business and often won or lost through the actions of the business leader. 

What Motivates Cultural Change in Business?

So why would you focus on cultural change and why is there a need for change? As expert business coaches, we are often involved in a business at the point of change or to help create change. The start point is often a reset of the vision for the business. Sometimes this extends to re-establishing or re-engaging with the company’s very purpose or to quote Simon Sinek, its “Why”.  

When the pause button is pushed there’s an opportunity to reflect on what works, what behaviours we’d like to see displayed and what we believe will be the fundamental values that will ensure we are aligned as a team. 

For those of you that are familiar with McKinsey’s 7s model, you can see how values sit at the heart of an organization and tie together every element. 

Diagram

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If you’d like to read more about vision settings then we welcome you to follow the link below to learn more.

As an owner or leader in the business, you are the custodian of the vision and the values but it’s how your team live and breath them that’s important. Too many businesses go through a strategic planning session or cultural change program to establish their values but few truly integrate them into everything they do. 

Measuring Your Current Culture

So how do you measure it, where do you start?

If you want a simple test of current cultural engagement, start by asking your staff to list the values, don’t be surprised though if few can recall them. All too often the “values” are a long list of words that sit framed on the wall in a boardroom or employee handbook but are rarely referred to in daily life. 

There are tools and software out there such as (engagement multiplier) that can measure across the organization how engaged people are with the vision, with values statements and leadership and the can be a great barometer of the current situation but if you are going to embark on this type of excise then be sure to react and work on the results.

For us as caches we ask teams the question, what does the “vision” or the “why” of this business mean to you, how do you think your role can influence it and add value to it. Similarly, if you have a set of values already established then simply ask them, “on a scale of 1-10 how well do you live and breath this value” and “can you give an example of something you have recently done that demonstrates how you’ve implemented it?” 

Matching Strategy and Culture

When there is a clearly defined strategy for the businesses future there will also be clarity around who we need in the organization and the behaviours that need to be displayed for success. 

Where a business does not have a clearly defined set of values and a clearly defined culture the organization invariably recruits employees that simply don’t fit and what subsequently happens is that employees fill the vacuum by bringing their values and culture.

Culture should therefore be our guide as to who we need in the business, it starts to dictate our recruitment strategy and performance measures, it’s woven into every decision that’s made across the business. Who our suppliers are, who our customers are, the sectors we’ll supply, the marketing we produce. The greatest challenge to ensure strategy and culture are aligned is checking we are walking our walk and talking our talk, are we authentic and congruent?

Culture can take a long time to create and even longer to embed but can be undone in a heartbeat. If business leaders and owners allow the wrong behaviours to go unchecked or worse still demonstrated by ourselves, then all the hard work can be undone. 

I have a belief that nobody comes to work to do a bad job, but sometimes we allow people to. 

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to spend time in the company of Sir Clive Woodward he talks about “teamship”, a set of rules of the game that his players and business leaders sign up to, a list of what we will and won’t accept in our team, our shared values. Total commitment to those values is lived and breathed, physically signed up to. It ensures buy-in at every level and breads peer to peer commitment to the values.

Managing Cultural Change within the Business

Culture is not a one time exercise, it’s ongoing, it never ends, it has to be embedded into everything you do. 

Here are our Chalkhill Blue values and they are woven into our very DNA. 

Company Values:

  • Authenticity
  • Excellence
  • Challenge
  • Results orientated
  • Respect
  • Positivity
  • Fun


From the ads, we put out, through our interview process, the onboarding, our messaging, our team meetings, our 1:1’s, our director’s meetings where we hold each other to account, our planning sessions, our client coaching and our reflection. When it’s integrated into everything you do it’s not a tick box exercise, you live it and breath it, your bread it, you consistently demonstrate it and you measure it. 

Culture change isn’t easy but it can be one of the most impactful things you can do for employee engagement and aligned growth. The key is to do it properly, don’t pay lip service to it, your team will see straight through it. 

Here at Chalkhill Blue we are passionate about company culture and working with businesses and their teams to develop and implement cultural change. “If you would like to learn more about the benefits of Chalkhill Blue’s business coaching, please don’t hesitate to contact us, or give our experts a call on 01793 239542.”