Changing an organization’s culture is considered one of the most difficult challenges for leaders, and those with experience will confirm that it can be a massive undertaking.
CEO Lou Solomon had a chronic habit of being tardy to meetings—until she received feedback from a client in a cordial but no-nonsense manner about how the image she was projecting could impede her success. She’s been early to meetings ever since and shared her experience in a 2016 HBR.org article, “Two-Thirds of Managers Are Uncomfortable Communicating with Employees.” Solomon says, “When offered with respect, honest feedback—even when critical—can have a major impact on your career and your personal life.”1
Most leaders have heard the expression, “You need to drive your culture or it will drive your business—for better or worse.” In reality, putting these words into action to achieve real cultural change with sustainable, measurable results is a long-term journey. The payoff is huge. With vision, focus, and investment in the right culture experts, diagnostics, and change processes, a Constructive culture can drive significant business performance.
When it comes to shaping a thriving workplace culture, the influence of leaders on their organizations’ overall performance cannot be overemphasized. They serve as role models whose conduct and behavior are expected to align with their organizations’ values. While recent months have provided a deluge of executives and leaders who have lost their way, it’s a compelling time for change agents to help organizations shape their culture for a constructive future.1
We are experiencing a historic shift in how people view the importance of culture and culture change. As a result, most CEOs and other top leaders will be expected to understand and deal with culture challenges proactively, or they will be considered both financially and morally negligent. Yes, financially and morally negligent. We are seeing top leaders held accountable for their own behavior and for unacceptable behavior deep in their organizations at a level we have never witnessed before. This is driven by a much greater culture shift in society—and it is long overdue.