10 steps to leading successful culture change

10 steps to leading successful culture change

Culture is often described as an invisible aspect of the working environment – something you can feel, but not see. I disagree

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July 05, 2019

6. Find leaders who represent the culture you’re creating

You will need to bring up leaders that represent the ability to drive the transformation. This includes individuals from other functions who can rally the business around the IT change, acting as advocates and information sources. Within IT, reorganizing functional teams can be helpful, so that the right leadership is dispersed across projects.

7. Address employee concerns

With change comes questions. You’ll likely get asked what this transformation means for individual employees’ growth paths, responsibilities, or careers. Open, transparent, and consistent communication is key, and should be mapped to the individual level in 1:1 conversations between team members and their managers. Regular town halls can be effective for communicating with the entire team.

8. Provide support

Cultural changes that result in technological transformations mean your organization may have a knowledge gap. This can be difficult to overcome but doing so organically is to your benefit. There is power in your team’s institutional knowledge. Rather than looking to bring in scores of new employees, support current ones with mentorship programs or by giving them opportunities to undergo training or certification in new skills that are – or will be – relevant for the new culture and the technology being introduced. This learning period may seem like a slow process, but building on existing understanding of the business, its goals, and its functionality, will be more valuable in the long run.

[ Read also: 7 ways to foster a culture of learning in IT. ]

9. Incentivize and recognize good work

In the beginning, your team will likely need continual, positive – and oftentimes, public – reinforcement to support ongoing good work. Consider how you can showcase the fruits of your team's labor throughout your organization, across the business and with external audiences: emails with employee spotlights, inviting teams to present successful projects to other teams, throughout the company or with outside communities or organizations, highlights in company blogs or newsletters, and more.

10. Make hard decisions on doubters

Not every member of your team will be on board with the change. If they are unable to evolve, they’ll likely become a detractor. Parting ways is OK. Thank them for their service, help them where they need it, and move on.

Changing the culture of your IT organization can be difficult, but remembering to root change in visible action – and not just in feeling – can lead to success.

[ Are you leading culture change? Get the free eBook, Organize for Innovation, by Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst. ]

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