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A Checklist for Culture Change

If you’re embarking on a transformation initiative focused on changing your organization’s culture, here’s a checklist that can help guide your efforts:

√  Culture is not the target of change. You have to lean into it by pulling on other levers, such as strategy, structure and rewards.

√  Connect the change to the higher sense of purpose and meaning in employees’ work.

√  Focus on stakeholder relationships, both within your organization and among close external partners.

√  Design your culture change efforts around a pull model – push won’t work.

√  Be intentional about change communications. Consider how you communicate through words, behaviours and symbols.

√  Be very specific about the behaviours you want employees to adopt. Focus on one “keystone” behaviour that symbolically signals the main direction for the organization.

√  Tap into the social capital of the organization. Employees and teams that work across boundaries will have the most influence.

√  Leverage existing beliefs and values to create new cultural norms and habits.

√  Provide multiple opportunities for sense-making and creating shared meaning through dialogue and conversation.

√  Plan for resistance as a normal reaction to change. Provide employees the psychological space necessary to process change at their own pace.

√  Don’t stand in the way of anger. Listen to employee concerns and validate feedback. Consider that large-scale change requires tremendous amounts of energy. Take steps to source a constant supply through employee engagement activities, fun events, recognition and time off.

√  Give yourself time to take stock of your progress and learn by scheduling opportunities for backward glances at regular intervals.

Want more resources on culture change? Check out our Best Practices in Change Communications.


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