96 percent say their office culture must change

A new study from Booz & Co. gauges employees’ assessments of their respective workplaces—as well as how and why tweaks (or overhauls) should be implemented.

Booz & Co. just released a very interesting culture study.

Here’s the bottom line: Everyone knows culture is important, culture is not being effectively managed, and they gave some incredibly over-simplified guidelines for managing culture. There must be a better way to build pride, drive out fear, and manage culture effectively.

Here are the highlights from the full study:

  • 84 percent of respondents, and 86 percent of C-suite respondents, say their organization’s culture is crucial to business success.
  • 60 percent say culture is more important than the company’s strategy or operating model.
  • 96 percent say some form of culture change is needed within their organization.
  • 51 percent assert their organization is in need of a culture overhaul.
  • 45 percent do not think their culture is being effectively managed.
  • 48 percent do not think they have the capabilities required to deliver lasting change.
  • At 57 percent, skepticism due to past failed efforts was the No. 1 reason for resistance to change.

How do you manage culture?

There are plenty of frameworks for managing strategy, talent, leadership, or performance, but not culture. Culture has been an elusive, mysterious subject. There are numerous surveys and models, but most culture management guidelines resort to oversimplified tips, tactics, or other suggestions.

This study is no different. Booz gives the following “levers” for sustaining change in their culture video and infographic:

  • Focus on a select few behaviors with the most cultural impact.
  • Expand change capabilities beyond leadership and communication alignment.
  • Activate informal levers, such as peer networks and storytelling.

These are all viable guidelines, but to say they have any chance at all of delivering “sustainable change” is a gross misrepresentation.

Not a ticket to sustainable change

CEOs and leaders are left asking, “How?” with each lever, but these levers barely touch the surface of any sustainable change effort. Fortunately, they are more connected to performance than the haphazard pizza party, company meeting, or employee survey, but they don’t build a strong culture foundation with any clarity.

Yes, culture is important and most organizations struggle managing it, but I don’t think these “levers”—nor many of the other oversimplified best practices we often read about—come anywhere close to supporting sustainable change.

What do you think about the study and the “levers” from Booz? Do you think most people over simplify what it takes for effective culture management?

Tm Kuppler is the founder of The Culture Advantage and CultureUniversity.com. He is also the author of a new book on culture,Build the Culture Advantage, Deliver Sustainable Performance with Clarity & Speed.”A version of this article first appeared on TLNT.

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