Time for a culture change?
Changing an environment or culture is no easy task and cannot be viewed in a quick fix scheme. As a leader in the core of the organization you must first drop those or reason with the individuals who are against it, you need a strong supporting cast to induce change. This supporting cast must be communicated with and brought into the problem solving equation. As the leadership core you cannot lie, adopt the change and communicate the process with the organization. Communication (verbal and nonverbal) is the foundation to inducing change. Although you may be able to use the dictatorship model for a short time frame, long term success requires honest communication through the organization. So how do you start identifying the culture change? First as a leadership group you must develop a self-awareness of the current situation or environment. Secondly communication on problem solving must be adopted and finally, perseverance (there is no quick fix). Stick to the plan. To develop self-awareness; evaluate the organization using the strength/assets approach. This is not only time consuming but necessary and starts the process of a culture change.
Strengths and Assets – Based Approaches
Russ – Eft and Preskill (2009) defined this approach by “focus (ing) on the strengths, assets and successes of individual and group experiences within workplaces and communities” (p.60). Common fields in which we see this approach include social work, psychology, community development and education. The two main types of inquiry associated with this model include appreciative and success case method. The success case method can be seen through a yearly approach to identify the psychology behind the culture of the organization in order to and meet the criteria of “seek(ing) the very best a program is producing, to help determine whether the value of the program is capable of producing is worthwhile, and whether it may be possible to leverage this to a greater number of participants. A success story is not a testimonial or critical review. It is a factual and verifiable account” (Brinkerhoff, 2005 as cited by Russ-Eft & Preskill, 2009, p. 62). The appreciative inquiry method is represented by four points as outlined by Russ-Eft and Preskill (2009):
- Inquiries, identifies and further develops the best of “what is” in organizations in order to create a better future.
- Addresses issues, challenges, changes and concerns of an organization in ways that build on the successful, effective and energizing experiences of its members (Preskill & Catsambas, 2006, as cited by Russ-Eft & Preskill, 2009, p. 61).
- Ignites collective imagination of what might be.
- Translates images into possibilities, intentions into realities and beliefs into practice (Cooperrider, Whitney & Stavros, 2008, as cited by Russ-Eft & Preskill, 2009, p. 61).
Through these evaluation models, there is a structured approach to evaluating and developing the leadership associated with the organization and the start of a culture change – creating a self-awareness.
Russ-Eft, D., & Preskill, H. (2009). Evaluation in Organizations. Philadelphia, PA: Basic Books.
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About Kyle McDonald
Kyle McDonald is owner/operator of Competitive Will, an athlete, coach and business performance development company. Integrating high performance strategies for success.