When implementing culture change, the most immediate focus is on leadership, employee engagement and initiatives that are focused on the people such as training or coaching. The most untapped area where significant culture change can be achieved is around the design and review of the systems and processes that people use on a day to day basis. Recognising and understanding how systems drive culture is an important consideration. It is something that I believe will very much be the focus going forward as we continue to embrace technology in every part of what we do. Building constructive systems and processes require a satisfaction driven assessment of what behaviours and responses the systems trigger within a project team and organisation.
How constructive are your systems?
- Do your systems and processes build relationships and collaboration between people or do they build barriers to communication?
- Do they challenge people to develop and educate others or do they encourage a power orientated approach focused on gates, approvals or checks on workflows that don’t really matter?
- Do your systems and processes focus on areas that are not the key drivers of the business?
- Is there a clear commitment to improvement or do we avoid this because the systems and processes are the way they are and change is too hard?
- Are there clear milestones or areas of achievement that the system drives, or is there a tendency to defer decision making and slow down workflows or progress?
Asking these tough questions up front when designing and implementing systems and processes can go a long way to improving employee engagement and organisational culture. Furthermore, your systems and processes will be something that your team will look forward to using rather than feeling like the culture program ends at the lectern.
Design systems and processes that drive behaviours and outcomes that you are looking to achieve. The systems and processes in your organisation are either driving the right culture or preventing it from being achieved. A simple culture review of your systems and processes can quickly identify the behaviours and responses being triggered.
Your staff and project team members are in the best position to give feedback on whether the systems either hinder or enhance their performance and level of effectiveness. Is this a space you are prepared to explore given the sacred cows that systems and processes tend to become?