I have often written about the importance of leadership in building an externally focused high performing organisation or team.  It is by far the most important factor in performance.

However in working with a range of my clients over the past 7 years I have noticed a tendency in many of the organisations to focus on organisational behaviour without addressing organisational design.

Organisational behaviour is the executive coaching and training approach with an emphasis on leadership, communication, expectations, role modelling and behaviours.  It is about trying to change individual behaviour through coaching and mentoring.

In contrast, organisation design focuses on the systematic aspects of an organisation on areas such as organisational strategy, collaborative decision making, resource optimisation, key performance indicators, organisational structure, governance, systems, processes, policies, recruitment and job design.

Both are important, but in my experience you can’t drive sustainable cultural change by focusing only on changing behaviour.  It’s one of the key reasons so many cultural change programs fail because the organisation spends considerable money running leadership programs but they don’t address the fundamental design issues in the organisation.

If you want sustainable success in cultural change you also need to get your KPIs, incentives, organisational structure, systems, processes and strategies aligned to your cultural objectives.  You can’t ask people to be constructive when they are tied up in bureaucracy.