Innovation Outcomes Brochure Culture Transformation __________________________________________________________________________ Innovation and Enhanced Performance Through Culture Transformation A number of studies indicate organizations that place a high priority on innovation (e.g., Southwest Airlines, Nokia, Dell, Deloitte, and others), produce significantly better shareholder return in as little as a one-year time frame than other organizations in their peer groups. Additionally, innovation leaders are not adverse to changing their organizational cultures, and they often do this by establishing clear targets that can be translated into strategies, initiatives, or action steps. There are other ways, too, in which innovation leaders differ from organizations that are comfortable with the status quo:
They're strongly dedicated to the success of the organization's products, services, or solutions.
They reward in-house talent for their new ideas, approaches, and initiatives.
They're capable of translating innovative strategy into action by focusing on external markets and internal processes
They're effective communicators and lobbyists for the change that makes innovation possible.
Innovative organizations succeed because they have found ways to maximize rewards while simultaneously minimizing the fear of risk. We collaborate with clients to help them do the same, often assisting with culture transformation as a way of supporting other organizational change initiatives such as reinvention & redesign and M & A Integration. In these scenarios, our experience continually reinforces the concept that organizational cultures don't create themselves. They need to be defined, and in many situations, nurtured, to facilitate creativity and innovation.
Because culture transformation involves change, it stands to reason that leaders and associates might have a tendency to resist it in the same ways that they resist other forms of change. But change can be managed in ways that are similar to effective risk management principles, starting with an executive leadership team that is flexible, expert at employing proactive strategies, and capable of adapting to the kind of rapid, unprecedented change that has become the hallmark of today's global economy. (For more information about this, see our brochure on Change Management.)
To effectively manage change, leaders need to ensure that formal architecture is constructed and that it enables swift, yet careful and systematic responses. To implement lasting change and sustain culture transformation, organizations need to also focus on the cultural issues that support the way leaders and associates solve problems, make decisions, and resolve conflict. Through cultural assessments and assessment of organizational strengths and weaknesses, gap analysis can form the foundation for modifications to an organization's existing culture so that goals for growth and/or enhanced organizational effectiveness can be adequately supported with requisite skill sets. __________________________________________________________________________________________
Sustained Cultural Change
Also mentioned in other sections of this website are two types of organizational change: incremental and breakthrough. Although culture transformation may begin with some breakthrough initiatives, it is typically accomplished incrementally, and sometimes only with considerable time and effort. To sustain culture transformation, positive changes need to be continually reinforced until that change can become institutionalized. It is a well-accepted fact that change directly influences job satisfaction and motivation, individual and team performance, and ultimately organizational performance.
Cultures that foster innovation and high performance have characteristics that are supportive of change and culture transformation, such as independence and autonomy, flexibility, resiliency, and high accountability. We assist organizations in ensuring high productivity and performance by assessing the current state of the organization's culture against goals and objectives outlined in current strategic and operating plans. We then determine what will be needed, to meet both current and future challenges.
Other dimensions that we consider in our gap analysis include the organization's internal environment (i.e., strengths and weaknesses) and its external environment (i.e., threats and opportunities). Additional factors for consideration include industry trends, current economic and market conditions, regulations and compliance requirements, etc. From this information, we jointly identify requisite competencies for both current and anticipated future challenges and the competencies that might be missing in key individuals or critical team members. By doing this, we help clients identify specific competencies in external candidates, so that they can hire for a full complement of requisite skill sets. And conversely, we identify development needs for key leaders and associates in current roles. __________________________________________________________________________________________
A Model for Culture Transformation
Culture transformation supports innovation by creating a high performance culture that empowers leaders and associates and allows them to demonstrate greater independence and autonomy by engaging in experimentation. Organizations become leaders in innovation when they recruit and retain leaders and associates who demonstrate competencies and skill sets that support and maintain innovation. Yet innovation is not limited to those with existing competencies and skills sets.
Industrial and organizational psychologist Kurt Lewin developed a simple model to describe the change process as long ago as 1958, yet it is still considered to be one of the most accurate descriptions of how change can be brought about, even in cultures that may not have previously be receptive to change. Lewin's model is summarized in the following illustration:
CURRENT STATE (Solid)
Unfreezing Creating the motivation to change
TRANSITION STATE (Liquid)
Refreezing Stabilizing/Integrating Changes
FUTURE STATE (Solid)
Lewin holds that a state of equilibrium (i.e., current state) will continue indefinitely unless that state is modified by a disruptive force.When a disruptive force affects the status quo, it unfreezes the current state, in the same way that heat thaws an ice cube.In organizational change initiatives, this unfreezing movement from a solid current state to a liquid transition state is accomplished by creating a climate where people are motivated to discontinue some aspect of their current behavior. __________________________________________________________________________________________
Leveraging the Transition State
Lewin found that, in the next phase (i.e., the transition state), people no longer act as they did in the past, yet at the same time, are not yet set in new behavior patterns either. Change has disrupted their present equilibrium, while at the same time, the future state has not yet been formed. Unfreezing invalidates established frames of reference and accepted patterns of behavior, making the transition state a place of both danger and opportunity for the person or organization involved. In Lewin's "unfreezing state," old methods become inoperative, and this generates tension and a high need for a new operating framework.When people are without a sense of equilibrium, they are uncomfortable and eager to do whatever is necessary to regain that equilibrium.The unpleasant aspects of the transition state make it possible for new learning to occur and for new behaviors to be adopted.In this way, individuals—and organizations—increase their capacity to deal with change.
To summarize, we believe that in order to achieve the goals of culture transformation, organizations need to take structured approaches to changing behavior.The first step usually involves "unfreezing" the status quo, making changes, and then "refreezing" to sustain changes.During the transition state, and before "refreezing" occurs, champions of change and change agents need to ensure that people, processes, and systems are aligned with change initiatives and business strategies. We utilize Lewin's model and assist clients at all stages of culture transformation, from unfreezing to refreezing. Additionally, we facilitate culture transformation in conjunction with other organizational change initiatives such as Reinvention & Redesign and M & A Integration. __________________________________________________________________________________________ Solutions
Innovation Outcomesoffers a variety of services that assist organizations in transforming their current cultures that include:
organizational assessmentsto determine organizational "change readiness" and change management capacity
individual assessments that identify leaders or associates who can actively support and advocate for change
mentoring of associates designated as change agents or change advocates
risk management (identifying those who might be fearful of and resistant to change)
coaching of select individuals
leadership development for key leaders
team development to ensure alignment
culture transformation to create and develop high performing teams
strategy development and communications programs that secure buy-in and sponsorship by explaining the rationale behind change
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ To read case studies about our culture transformation services, click here. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
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