Develop your Culture to Embrace Change

If you have been around the change management world at all, you’ll hear estimates that 70% of change initiatives fail.  Why is that you ask?  It often starts at the top.  Leadership moved too fast with the implementation, there wasn’t a focus on training employees on the new methods, etc.  Often ignored is the fact the culture isn’t ready to accept change.  Especially today, it is important to develop your culture to embrace change!

My bet is your business has made some changes to the way it operates.  Maybe it’s as simple as requiring everyone to wear masks.  It could be you’ve moved more of your business to fulfilling online vs. a physical location.  Regardless, how hard was it for you to accomplish?  Did everyone pitch in and make it happen effortlessly?

It’s important that leaders instill a culture that embraces change.  The hard part is that culture isn’t a set of rules you write down and expect everyone to follow.  Culture is a combination of the company mission, vision, values, norms and purpose.  While the products and services may change a company’s purpose should remain the same.  Here are some steps to take to develop your culture to embrace change.


1.  Identify a shared purpose

You might think companies that have been around a long time would have a harder time engaging younger employees to meet the demands of the future.  It’s important to frame your company’s purpose in a way everyone can support.

You might think Toyota builds cars.  The reality is their purpose is to increase the mobility of humans.  That is a larger purpose that employees can engage with and support.  Another example is Nike.  A simple view is they produce running shoes and athletic wear.  Okay, but for whom?  They view everyone as an athlete.  Their purpose is “If you have a body you are an athlete.”  A purpose like that engages employees to embrace change.

2.  Develop your True North

A True North takes into account the mission, vision, values, and purpose and acts as a constant reminder of the purpose of the business.  It should guide every decision, every investment, every conversation within a company.  Reflecting upon the True North makes embracing change much easier for employees because they know the why for the change.

3.  Continually share the True North

After you have defined your purpose and developed your True North, it is important to socialize the True North with everyone in the company regularly.  I worked with a billion-dollar company that began every daily huddle reviewing a small piece of the True North.  They were a manufacturer, and the basis of their True North was safety and quality.

Once their employees understood those elements, they introduced more elements like measure what matters, employee engagement, and innovation.  Over a short period of time, all 500 employees understood why they were there and embraced the changes we were introducing.

If you follow these three steps I know you can develop your culture to embrace change!

As always, it is an honor to serve you, and I hope that you and your company are getting better every day!

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