I am a change fanatic. Give me a choice between status quo or the opportunity to change, and I will jump for the new possibilities. Some people accuse me of being addicted to change. They say: “If Steven can’t change something during the day, he will drive home at lunch just to change his socks!” That is not true. I bring an extra pair of socks to work, just in case.
The environment of change can fuel our creativity; but there are some changes that we should purposely avoid. Those are the changes that have the potential to destroy the culture of our organization. Unless of course the culture is toxic and needs to change.
Change is always corporate in its nature. It consistently influences the network of relationships. Person to person. Business to business. Employer to employee. Employee to customer. Change is persistently a group phenomenon. It is not an individual experience only.
I recently had to make an important decision for my company. The potential change would include a heavy investment of time and money. Those are two valuable resources that I’m not willing to part with easily. However, the impact it would have for my team was what I needed to consider most. The change would introduce new and more work for all of us. It could also streamline our workload in the long term. More importantly I needed to know how it might influence the relationships – the culture of our organization.
This vital to leadership success in any business. Many leaders fail because they focus only on building the brand, while forgetting that the culture is what sustains the brand. And the culture is inspired and shaped by the people you lead.
John Taft, CEO of RBC Wealth Management, was recently asked why culture is so important:
“Culture is everything when it comes to responsible, long-term business success. Culture is what exists before any given leader shows up, and it’s what exists after any given leader moves on. Culture is in the DNA of an organization. It is not something that a leader necessarily goes out and creates. A leader’s job is to discover, communicate and reinforce culture. If you don’t get culture right, nothing else matters.”
SmartBlog on Leadership, July 25, 2012
Improving systems alone doesn’t make us better if the change doesn’t enhance the quality of the team. Each change creates a shift in our corporate culture. Will those changes be beneficial? To determine the benefits get clear on these two important factors:
- What is the purpose of our organization and team?
- Will the proposed change enhance or destroy that shared purpose?