In March of this year, I had the pleasure of interviewing global credibility expert Mitchell Levy for a terrific On The Brink podcast. Then recently the tables turned and I was the interviewee! Mitch is on a quest to interview 500 thought leaders on credibility for his Thought Leader Life show, and I was honored to be included. I really enjoyed our talk, mainly because it focused on helping organizations change their corporate cultures and grow their businesses in these changing times. As you know, I'm a Blue Ocean Strategist® and a culture change expert so this was right up my alley.
Every industry has been experiencing massive, fast, and sometimes devastating changes over the last decade or more. Take Lyft and Uber, for example, and how they’ve upended transportation. Or how Airbnb and the sharing economy have disrupted the hospitality industry, or how Spotify forced Apple to rethink its iTunes business proposition. Apps and mobile devices continue to cause major market shakeups as they either change the way people interact with a market or find their way into new markets. And it’s not slowing down, it’s speeding up!
We were interested, but not surprised. These days, just about every company wants to “change their culture.” We know this because we get calls from frantic HR directors about it almost every day. The problem is, they aren’t really sure what their corporate culture is today, much less what they would like it to become in the future. Nor do they know how to get it there.
That's where we come in.
Ready to change your culture? We can get you there.
Change is all around us but few of us really know how to change
...especially when it means adopting new ways of doing things. Our brains hate change. It's literally pain! So why do it? Because we must. The times demand it.
Even though change can be painful, we really need to learn how to adapt our growth strategies, our processes, our employee engagement...even ourselves. We can't put it off. In today's highly competitive, continually disrupted business environment, that's the only way companies are going to survive.
Is meaningful and lasting change possible? Yes.
Maybe it is time to change “Change Management”
In today's highly competitive, technologically disrupted business environment, one thing that’s a constant across all industries is change. It cannot be ignored—it must be embraced. But how? How do you change when our brains hate it? And, while change is all around us, few of us really know how to change, i.e., how to adopt new ways of doing things. We're much more comfortable with the way we've always done things in the past. So why change?
Because we must. The times demand it. Even though change is pain, we really need to learn the methods and strategies for bringing about real, transformative change, and then apply them. And fast.
Is meaningful and lasting change possible?
Yes. But, it takes genuine buy-in from the executive leadership and a strong understanding of the current vs. desired corporate culture. If these fall into place, culture change can indeed not only happen but revolutionize a company.
To understand how you too can do this, read our white paper which contains a step-by-step slide show explaining the necessary steps an organization must take to bring about real change. In this way, you and your business can overcome today's challenges and boldly embrace the future.
To download our white paper, "Everything is Changing but Change Management. Why Is It Not Working?," click below.
Despite how much people love the abstract notion of change, when it really happens, they hate it. That's because real, lasting change requires some big shifts in how you do things. And what we're seeing with many of our clients is that adapting to today's new technology, new business environments and new generations’ approach to the workplace is bumping up against people’s resistance to change and their understanding of what this thing called “culture” really is.
Changing corporate culture is particularly difficult because the human brain is designed to rely on habits and certainty. When people hear the words, “We have to change the way we do things here,” their brains immediately look for ways to protect the status quo.
So given all the roadblocks that people's brains put up, how do you drive change?
The challenges of changing a culture, particularly a professional services firm
A perfect storm of disconnect: higher education and changing times
At SAMC, we do a good deal of work with higher education institutions. Why? Because we're all about culture change and helping organizations find their Blue Ocean Strategy so they can adapt to what's coming (or in many cases, what's already here). And what we're finding is that today's colleges and universities desperately need both — culture change and Blue Ocean Strategy.
Case in point: If you look at classrooms from the years 1900, 1950 and today, you might be surprised, or dismayed, to see that they are all very much the same. Take a look:
While this antiquated educational system still hasn’t changed much, the world outside is changing faster than ever before. What to do?
Higher education needs to re-think its entire approach
I often get calls from HR directors who say, "Help! I have a new CEO and he wants me to change the culture." And so I ask, "What's the problem?" And the HR person will say, "I don't really know what our culture is." And my answer to that is, "Well, what would the new CEO like it to become?" And they’ll say, "I'm not sure, but it isn't working so a new culture is what we need." Typically, they just want something different but they don't really know where they're going or how to get there. And they're not alone.
Many clients come to us because the times are changing and they know they have to adapt but they don't know how.
Change is something people hate. The brain hates it. The culture hates it. Organizations hate it. But as corporate anthropologists, we are convinced that what works—yes, really works—to successfully change an organization are the methods, tools and techniques of anthropology.
Over and over again, we find that high-performing organizations thrive when they unleash the talent, passion and potential of their people. That has everything to do with building a better culture, and changing a culture for the better is what corporate anthropology is all about.
To explain the kind of work we do at SAMC to help organizations change, I recently produced this webinar. It will help you understand the pain and challenges of change and why we just hate to do it. Then it will take you through the building blocks needed to change people. I'll touch on a few key concepts here in this blog but to get the full story, you really need to watch the webinar. Just click on the graphic below.
To read the full transcript of the webinar, click here.
"Continuing to do what’s working is easy. What’s harder is to stop doing the things that aren’t working."
My thoughts exactly. In fact, in a recent Forbes article about how first-time CMOs need to focus on what to keep doing, start doing and sometimes more importantly, stop doing, I'm referenced as saying that just like individuals, fear, habit and hope can keep companies (even the most successful ones) from evolving.
The article then mentions a previous Forbes blog of mine, "Why We're So Afraid of Change -- And Why That Holds Businesses Back," in which I discuss how so many businesses we work with at SAMC find themselves stuck, experiencing zero growth. The reason? (It's obvious to us but they can't see it.) In the midst of massive change all around them, they insist on using the same outmoded tactics to run their companies while wishing for the old world order to return. Good luck with that.
Beyond fearing change itself, many companies fail to see how the business environment itself is shifting.
As you may know, our mission at Simon Associates Management Consultants is to help organizations change. Whether it's a large high-performing organization or a mid-size owner/operator, helping businesses change is our focus and our specialty. It's exciting work!
But, change is something that people hate. The brain hates it. The culture hates it. We see this all the time with our clients. Most organizations have a hard time implementing new ideas and new ways of doing things, even if they are good ideas and better, more productive ways of doing things.
So, what to do? How can you successfully change your organization? As corporate anthropologists, we have found that what works over and over again is "a little anthropology." Watch this webinar and you'll learn why and how you can do it too.