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On the Brink

On the Brink

Want to Change Your Organization's Culture? Try the OCAI!

On Oct 18, 2018 11:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, business culture, Culture Change, Corporate Culture, Andrea Simon, ocai-online

 

I have had so many requests for help using the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument, the OCAI, that it seemed timely to tell you more about this great method and tool for evaluating your culture today and what you would like it to become in the future (www.ocai-online.com).

A business, by definition, needs to be in a constant state of motion. If you want to grow and succeed in the market, you need to always be moving forward. The same can be said for organizational culture. In both cases, change is the driving force that can help your organization reach its goals and fulfill your ambitions.

Why is corporate culture important?

Understanding organizational culture is hard, and changing it is even harder. But it is the essence of what your organization is all about. In order to implement meaningful change inside your business, you will have to look inward and evaluate your current culture. Only then is it possible to determine where you want to go from there and create a strategy that can help you reach your destination.

Fortunately, recent developments in understanding and improving organizational culture have created new methods that can help you achieve change. One such method is the OCAI and here is how you can use it to implement change in your organization.

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Want To Save the World? Women Entrepreneurs Are Already Doing It!

On Aug 16, 2018 7:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, women entrepreneurs, women in business

Have you heard of the “third billion?” Even if you haven't, you're definitely going to feel their impact. “Third billion” describes a billion women from emerging markets who are going to join the global economy as entrepreneurs, employers and employees over the next decade. From Turkey to India, women entrepreneurs are taking leading roles in this global shift, transforming their local economies and their communities. Oh and in the process, changing the world.

Case in point: The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor study looked at 59 economies around the world and found that women are creating businesses at a higher and faster rate than men in three economies, and at a nearly equal rate in four others. Specifically, the startup rates by gender are comparable in Brazil, Ecuador, Switzerland and Uganda, and in Nigeria, Ghana and Thailand, the rate of new women entrepreneurs is higher than that of men. In the remaining 52 economies, the proportions of men startups are higher than women, in some cases, up to six times higher.

This is excellent news on a global scale as it signals a growing positive trend. After decades of legislative, policy and socio-cultural changes that have empowered women by supporting and training them, the world is finally placing women in leading business roles.

Not only transforming economies but communities too

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When Was the Last Time You Really Looked at Your Business?

On Apr 12, 2018 8:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, Andrea Simon, Culture Change, business change, business leadership, Change Management

When was the last time you looked at your business with fresh eyes? Maybe it is ready for some significant changes? How would you know? How would you make them happen? As we often tell our clients "If you want to change, have a crisis or create one." If not, very little gets done. But the pressures to change are accelerating. People really hate to change. What to do?

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The Time is Right for Businesses to Hire Anthropologists

On Apr 3, 2018 7:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, Corporate Anthropology, Corporate Culture, Culture Change, business leadership, business change, anthropology

 Anthropologists seem convinced that no one wants to hire them. With very low unemployment and almost 6 million jobs going unfilled in the U.S. today, shouldn’t highly-skilled, well-trained and capable anthropologists be able to find work of some kind that’s related to their education and interests?

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Why Pay Parity Is Good For Business

On Feb 8, 2018 7:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, corporate anthropologist, Culture Change, business change

Did you know that in Iceland, it's the law that men and women must earn the same pay? That's right. Iceland just announced (the first country in the world to do so) that public and private companies must pay men and women in the same positions equally or pay a fine. Wow, what if that could happen here in the U.S.!

As a corporate anthropologist and culture change expert, I thought this warranted a closer look. I started digging into the subject and what I've found is that not only is pay parity timely and necessary and the right thing to do, it's also good for business.

I was asked recently by American Express OPEN Forum for my input in this area, along with several other CEOs and business founders. (Read the article here) Interestingly, we all expressed the same belief: that equal pay is important to the health of a business. Consider these eight points, discussed in the AmEx article:

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Can A Little Anthropology Help Your School Change?

On Feb 7, 2018 7:00:00 AM

/ Rachel Carney

, change, culture, anthropology, corporate anthropologist, school culture, Culture Change

 

When I started writing this blog, I was interested in how schools use anthropology and its observational research methods. I wasn't curious about how schools were teaching anthropology, but how they applied its theory, methods and tools to help address the significant issues of climate and cultural changes. As I scanned the research trying to find how anthropologists help schools change, grow and improve, I came to the realization that anthropologists are not being used to help schools. But quite frankly, they should be!

So how can anthropologists help our schools?

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Need To Change Your Organization's Culture? 6 Best Ways To Do It.

On Feb 6, 2018 6:30:28 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, Corporate Anthropology, Corporate Culture, Culture Change

 

As many of you know, I love talking about anthropology—specifically, how corporate leaders can apply its tools and methodology to bring about cultural change, greater success and bigger profits. But, change is hard. In many cases, change is literally pain. The brain actually fights it, which is why real, lasting change is so difficult to come by. As a culture change expert, I see this all the time with clients. But the good news is that yes, change can happen! And with a little guidance, you can actually make it stick. Yes, indeed you can drive change.

In my recent interview with Thomas Fox, these concepts are exactly what we talked aboutanthropology and culture change and how each influences the other. As I explained to him, in a corporate setting, leaders espouse values, beliefs and expectations so people know what to do and how to get it done. Everything is fine until something begins to change and then that culture must change, too.

But knowing how to "do" culture change can be tricky. To help businesses achieve success, I offered the following six steps (abbreviated here):

6 steps for achieving successful culture change

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What is Corporate Anthropology and Why Should I Try It?

On Jan 16, 2018 8:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, Corporate Anthropology, Corporate Culture, Culture Change

 

Now that “On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights,” my award-winning book on how corporate anthropology can help businesses grow, is being read by CEOS, business leaders, entrepreneurs and even anthropology students, I'm frequently being asked, "What is this thing called 'anthropology' or 'business anthropology' and why should I know about it, much less use it to help grow my business?"

In addition, I cannot tell you how many parents have contacted me about their son or daughter who is in love with business anthropology in college or with just anthropology itself. What kind of jobs are out there for an anthropology major?, they want to know. As an anthropologist myself, what I don't want to tell them is that only a few years ago, Forbes and Kiplinger ranked anthropology as the worst major for finding a job after college. 

Maybe it is time to change that!

There is now a very big role for anthropology and anthropologists in business.

Given the business trends I am seeing as I travel around the country working with clients or leading workshops, I am convinced that now is the time to make anthropology less academic and more easily understood and applicable, particularly in the business world. Indeed, the tools and methods of anthropology are what can help your business or organization sustain growth during these rapidly changing times.

So what is this thing called "Corporate Anthropology?"

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How to Dramatically Transform Your Company Culture

On Jan 11, 2018 10:51:39 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, Andrea Simon, Culture Change, business change



In a recent blog ("4 Great Ways to Become a More Innovative Company"), I wrote about CEOs and other executives who typically have spent much of their leadership time at the head of a successful ship. But when it comes time to adapt to change, they have a hard time keeping their companies afloat when the market winds shift and they need to rethink strategies to change course. Do they just need to add some innovation? Or do they have to change their culture?

Maybe a little of both. How does that kind of change actually happen?

Let me tell you a story.

At my consulting firm Simon Associates Management Consultants (SAMC), we've been working with a Fortune 500 company whom I'll call “Client X.” The challenge before us is to figure out how to reconcile, on the one hand, a business that has grown to dominate its market by doing things well in one particular way, with on the other hand, changing customers who are demanding new things from their network of retail outlets. 

Additionally, and almost right on cue, new managers from Generation Y are rising in this company's ranks and proposing new, innovative ways of doing things. A big collision is coming. 

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Are You Becoming a More Vulnerable Leader?

On Jan 11, 2018 7:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, Andrea Simon, Culture Change, business change

 

Here at SAMC, we are watching a situation in which a business leader is trying to transform an organization that has really been allowed to wallow for a long time. Staff has been coming to work and doing a job but not much has been happening to either inspire or frighten them.

But now, with new leadership and a fast-changing market, they are threatened. While trying to mobilize and motivate his employees, the new CEO is finding that they are throwing up the classic four hurdles of those who know intellectually that they have to change but really don’t know how—or even if they want to.

The four hurdles (and you may have seem them yourself) are: 

  1. The cognitive one where they claim they really don’t know what the leader is talking about.
  2. The motivational excuse where they just really don’t want to put any effort into changing.
  3. The resource resistance where they blame the slow pace of change on not having the resources.
  4. The politico hurdle where they are waiting to see what others are going to do before they risk their own necks embracing the leader’s initiatives. 

The new leadership team is responding with a wonderful mix of business acumen, personal strength and at times, softer concerns. They are showing that they are vulnerable, caring and concerned but also strong and determined to help this organization adapt, or die. Watching this careful dance made us realize that the growing body of research and literature about the success of a vulnerable leader was playing out right before us. 

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