Trying to embed a culture or a capability initiative, across the business, without getting the senior people on board requires luck. It could pay off but I wouldn’t risk it. So why do we?
I was working with a large fintech company. They wanted to ‘embed a feedback culture’. Great! We created a comms strategy to get people expectant and manage the cynics, designed it entwining their workplace values, ran pilots to refine, set up clear measures of success, had the Feedback Focus Group ready to go. The leaders came to an abridged version of the training but we missed a critical step. BIG mistake.
Get the leaders on board before you press go. We failed to run a ‘pre-mortem’ with the leaders, of all the things that can go wrong and right if this new culture initiative is to be launched. In a pre-mortem we encourage the leaders to share what they think could go wrong and throw rocks at it. And discuss what would happen if it goes well. There needs to be a dedicated time when we discuss this. Half way through or not at all is like pushing s&^t up a hill.
This is also the time to create agreements on how they will hold each other to account on the new workplace they want to see. If they don’t believe it in the program then it’s not likely to be permanently embedded.
There is also a big caveat. Talk about what they care about – not what we do. More about that in Mistake No. 5 coming up in a few weeks. They need to own the purpose and care about it. Trying to drive any type of culture without their actual (not implied or hoped for) buy in is pointless. It’s a training program at best and throwing time and money down the corporate toilet.
If you like the sound of this, then you should seriously consider coming to my half day workshop Creating a kickarse workplace culture, on April 27th. Check it out here.