The Smaller The Better

My previous post on, How to Screw Up Change, identified the four methods that influence organizational change the most. Today we look at the ‘what’s working‘ strategies to engage people and move everyone forward ensuring change sticks…this time! Any sustainable change must to start with where your people are. We discard the potential blocking of the current culture and invite your people in to develop their change plan including an empowering, positive culture with new behaviors and habits.

How do we get to the velocity & viscosity of culture where people want to be a part of our work community?

Image licensed to Lloyd Images -The new Hugo Boss IMOCA Open 60 -Credit: Lloyd Images/ AT Racing

You can’t change them and quit asking me to change them for you! We ALL must ‘row the boat’ of change together. We come alongside you throughout the process. Here’s our 7-step process:

Step into ‘the boat’ & attend a Culture Influencing workshop

We offer a complementary webinar to share with you what our Culture Influencing projects look like, why they were important for our clients and how we implement change initiatives. If the information shared makes sense to you, then inviting us to deliver an onsite workshop for your team is a reasonable request.

We assess ‘your boat’ to identify & evaluate the current & preferred culture

We both must know the point of departure and agree on what makes the best use of time and resources. Our Culture Influencing framework is a learning model continually updated,  enhanced and personalized from client to client. We utilize the best and most current instruments available to measure quantifiable attributes compared against ‘normed’ populations. We’re not trying to fit you into our model, rather we adapt to your population and competencies

What does your quantified profile look like, discuss your current culture & add qualitative data on behaviors and examples

We want to know which culture types are dominant, how deeply rooted are they, how big is the gap between your current and the preferred culture, and how ready your business and your people are for change. Remember, there’s a climate AND a culture to be influenced. We suggest creating your first small group or change circle next. It’s very exciting when participants have a dialogue about the possible outcomes and add qualitative information to the quantitative profile. They become invested and you begin to witness the dynamic first-hand. We collectively gather typical beliefs, examples, incidents, stories and so on. Together, we explore your actual landscape and your people get a shared understanding of where they are – your point A.

We invite your people into the boat to raise engagement, awareness & create consensus

When potential clients participate in our workshop, they become aware of where they are and where they want to be. The Small Group model is a structure that helps people change and persevere over time. It engages people faster in contributing to the organization, because they share their expectations, ideas, improvements, objections, and solutions. They become more aware of the organizational system, they tend to reach consensus about what is needed faster and they take ownership of their work and the changes the organization must have. The Small Groups also tap into their potential and empower one another to take action, together and with support from each other. Most importantly, as they evolve through a logical sequence in this process they develop positive, lasting change.

When you think of a visual image of any organization, the immediate image is a pyramid with one CEO at the top and dozens, hundreds or thousands through every level reaching the base.

We tip the pyramid on its ear and turn a ‘top down mentaility’ into a megaphone where anyone and everyone has a voice and the ability to share the message of influencing culture to make a difference in the lives of everyone in the organization. #EveryoneMatters


How different would your company be if everyone’s voice mattered?


We discuss your current and future strategy to see where we need to be for you & where you must go

The CEO can’t do it alone, and leadership can’t do it alone – you’ve likely tried that. Together, we make change a collective endeavor. You need the majority to change a few key personal behaviors that will make a difference to your  organizational system. If not, then you won’t achieve a sustainable organizational change. Through the workshop process and small group launch, we focus on your climate – the shared perceptions and attitudes about the organization. Here we establish a safe place to open up, exchange ideas, learn, explore and occasionally vent.  Your people feel safer  in a small group and most importantly, we facilitate and create space that fosters honest dialogue.

After understanding your current climate and culture from values and beliefs to behaviors and habits, we explore the future and where you want to be and must go – your point B. We ask the difficult questions. We’re here to help you uncover why it’s necessary to change now and in what direction; what the future holds for your business and what must happen tactically to be successful, and how that relates to the adopted culture type; what adjustments, if any, will be required along the way; when we ‘scan the future’ beyond 12-plus-12 months, what external influences can (un)favorably impact the business and our culture?

We personalize your preferred culture to thrive in the present & future

We’re adept at anticipating your organization’s need to adjust the preferred culture profile from the data. We capture and encourage your preferred culture from actual values to everyday business behaviors, and we’ll guide you through the dilemmas we expect and how to respond appropriately.

Here’s an example from a recent project: “We want to move from being an intimate company to being a more innovative one. We’ve been stifled when it comes to new initiatives.” “It feels like [we] wait for permission or beg forgiveness, so we don’t take risks or waste too many resources experimenting.” The small group will define the best behaviors to solve dilemmas like this and more. “Now [in the new culture], we’re free to experiment without permission (they have a maximum number of hours and dollar threshhold before taking the initiative to for evaluation and/or approval).” In this project and others similar, allowing people to get a shared, reasonable, detailed understanding of where they must go – point B.

We establish small groups leveaging your internal networks to develop & deploy a ‘How-to’ plan 

You now know ‘what’ you want. We link up with you to implement the ‘how’ from every client that has gone before you – there is no magic, no blue pill. We give you the blueprint and facilitate you walking through every step, every win and every failure along the way. You can apply this methodology to any and every initiative you have going forward. This puzzle has proven itself in businesses as small as $15M to a $12B global conglomerate. It simply works. Our job together is to uncover what works in your system and what doesn’t.

The conversation continues…

Epilogue:  There is no off-the-shelf, plug-and-play no software platform; no generic advice spun in some 200+ page glossy playbook. We deliver the situational intelligence required to succeed and sustain that success when times are good and more importantly when the shit hits the fan. Not everything can be planned in detail or every contingency accounted for. However, the journey can be beyond logic at times, full of emerging developments, and require mindful adjustments to get where you must be. Influencing your organization requires people adjusting plans, practicing new behaviors, copy, and coach one another, and co-create successful change.

The final step is repeat the process – ongoing, regular change circles as a vehicle to stay the course and prepare for the next change. New people will join your organization and others will leave, and each person, regadless of role and function, shapes and affects your culture downstream. This way, people learn how to deal with continuous change at work.

What do we do in our Culture Influencing workshop? We’re felxible to your unique situation and you choose a 1-day or up to a 3-day workshop. We’ll share with you how to:

  • Diagnose and change culture with a validated approach to change,

  • Engage coworkers and have them take ownership,

  • Guiding Change Circles – Grow Bigger, Better by Growing Smaller 

  • Beware of resistance and How-to assess satisfaction

  • Align mission / values with performance, strategy and behaviors,

  • Align different departments and the board with the shop floor.

I’ll leave you with several questions so you’ll understand what works and doesn’t work for your situation:

What is your immediate takeaway from the information shared?

What would or would not work in your organization?

Where do you have doubts?

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