New rules for culture change

Understanding what drives culture change can make all the difference between transformations that fail and those that succeed.

With the effects of digital disruption sweeping across industries, very few organizations can afford to stand still. Yet many of the businesses overhauling their strategies have encountered a major stumbling block: their internal culture.

In the past, rigid, command-and-control, top-down approaches were effective for managing employees. But today’s fast- paced, digital business environment demands greater collaboration and innovation, and savvy executives already recognize that the workforce of the future will require a flexible, purpose-driven work environment that shows up consistently across the employee experience. Such cultural transformations, however, have hardly been smooth. Training and communication – the focus of traditional change programs – have failed to make culture change stick, with many companies stumbling and floundering. The result? Organizational dysfunction, the loss of top talent, damage to the bottom line, and increasing vulnerability to the competition.

Why is culture change so hard to achieve? Our research, studying culture transformations at numerous organizations, finds that many executives don’t fully understand what truly drives culture change, and that’s why so many of those initiatives tend to fall short of their goals.

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