Culture can be defined by many things: It can be in the form of a symbol, a language, one’s norms or values.
Every business, whether big or small, has a culture instilled in them. Culture can be seen in a company’s slogan, their core values and how a business is run. However, the culture in a business doesn’t stop there. There may be diverse culture subsets within an organization, for example: employees who have their own set of ideas, norms and values. Culture is the behaviour of people and how they feel and there are people who are willing to create change within an organization: We call them “Intrepreneurs” or “Solopreneurs” for solo entrepreneurs.
There are many parts of a company’s culture that can be changed. It can be in terms of the work environment, a shifting of focus, greater transparency, better processes or even something as simple as being nicer to one another.
The first step in changing culture is identifying one aspect of the current culture that you want to change. Make sure that the goal of changing your chosen culture aligns with the goals of the company!
The next step is to take action. Let’s say that you are an employee of a business and you want to create a better working environment by promoting kindness towards one another. You can immediately start taking action by establishing trust as this is foundational to both the team and the culture and by having integrity to further strengthen the trust of the employees. Having fun also creates a better working environment for everyone.
If you are pursuing a change of culture that needs involvement from your boss, or other higher ups, it would be best to first create a proposal. Be professional when creating the proposal. Outline the benefits to the company if the proposed culture change is accepted and followed through. Ask yourself: What are the strengths of the company and how could we utilize these in creating a better culture for the company? Do not forget to highlight the positive impact of the change or changes to the company as this could be the deciding factor of the proposal’s acceptance. Make sure that you are speaking the language of those listening whether they are a boss or an employee. Ask yourself “Do they like stories, do they like dot points or do they want facts? What facts do they want laid out?”
Once you’ve successfully presented your pitch, be ready for the potential that not all of your ideas will be accepted. You can choose to be upset or you can choose to start working on yourself in order to make the culture change happen and hope that this self change also impacts other people in the organization. Be the change that you want to see and lead by example!
Here are my steps on changing culture:
- Choose one aspect of your company’s culture that you want to change but make sure that the change itself aligns with the goals and values of the company.
- Take action. If the action does not require the involvement of your superiors, start by establishing the change within yourself and your circle of colleagues. If the change requires the involvement of your superiors, create a proposal which involves utilizing the strength of the company, ensuring to highlight the positive impact of this change and always place yourself in the shoes of the listener.
- Present the pitch to your superiors and other employees.
- After presenting the pitch, start the action within yourself and inspire other employees to start changing as well.
Changing culture can lead to a defining moment in a company but keep in mind that it takes time to permanently change culture long term. Be patient and be committed to any change to maximize its effect. The best place to start any change is within yourself and who knows who else will be inspired to follow.