Need Culture Change? Turn up the Volume

Need Culture ChangeI’ve always been interested in music.  I’m a fan.  The great thing about music?  Even if you don’t play an instrument or have a singing voice, you can enjoy it just the same.  Music expresses culture and transcends all aspects of life.

As a young teenager I would get together with several of my friends to “jam.”  While we were definitely not very good – it was a lot of fun, and the louder the better!  Our “music” was amplified and shared with the entire neighborhood!

Reading this post by Derek Irvine about culture change and the importance of recognition reminded me of those fun times.  As Irvine says:

“Recognition not only keys employees in to behaviors that demonstrate high performance within a preexisting cultural context, but also provides a mechanism for those behaviors to be amplified and shared across the organization.  Recognition across the entire organization results in these types of incremental improvements that cumulatively impact the bottom line.”

Drawing from a recent infographic that is part of an article on Strategy+Business, Irvine emphasizes the difficulty in achieving successful culture change.  Successful culture change strategies are consistently applied, build momentum over time, and encourage individuals to achieve small victories and incremental improvements.

Implementing a holistic approach to change that recognizes and reinforces core behaviors for individuals, in addition to strategies and processes to spread those behaviors across units, departments and geographies is paramount to success.  As Irvine states, “These two factors help to explain why well-designed social recognition solutions are successful drivers of culture management and change.”

Culture Change: Four Critical Areas of Focus

Irvine summarizes the Strategy+Business infographic with four critical areas of focus.

  1. Look first for what is working within the culture you have, not the culture you want or aspire to have.
  2. Emphasize and recognize behaviors that reinforce those positive parts of your culture, and also align to core values and business results.
  3. Make those behaviors contagious by relying on informal leaders and social technologies to provide exemplars and ongoing, steady motivation.
  4. Ensure those behaviors and culture stay an active part of every employee’s experience, through the clear direction and mindset of senior and front-line leadership.

Check out the full article on Strategy+Business – it will be well worth your time.  And consider the value of Recognition when it comes to culture change.  In other words – turn up the volume!

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