Culture trumps strategy every time, no matter how brilliant the plan, so the two need to be in alignment. Don’t just implement new rules and processes; identify “influencers” who can bring other employees along. and pay only $8.25 each, Buy 500 or above A senior leader we interviewed there compared the company to universities that plan out paved walkways when they expand their campuses. Otherwise you can't identify backsliding or correct course. This last area is usually the slowest to show improvement. This enormous strength had been largely untapped. After a thoughtful pause, Rowe replied, “Well, I guess it is all about restoring the Aetna pride.” As we noted earlier, he got a spontaneous standing ovation from the hundreds of attendees. It’s better to include a few carefully designed, specific behavioral measurements in existing scorecards and reporting mechanisms, rather than invent extensive new systems and surveys. The prevailing executive mind-set was “We take care of our people for life, as long as they show up every day and don’t cause trouble.” Employees were naturally wary of any potential threat to that bargain. In some cases, it may also be worth focusing on interactions within key subpopulations—such as midlevel managers or those in business-critical functions—whose own behaviors have a disproportionate impact on the experiences of others or on business success. and pay only $8.00 each. Executives should pay attention to four areas: Are key performance indicators improving? If we can demonstrate Every culture is the product of good intentions and has strengths; put them to use. Culture trumps strategy every time, no matter how brilliant the plan, so the two need to be in alignment. Separate nonhierarchical forums among peers and colleagues were also held across the company to discuss Aetna’s values—what they were, what they should be, why many of them were no longer being “lived,” what needed to happen to resurrect them, and what leadership behaviors would ensure the right employee behaviors. Where do you start? And how would employees react when they actually saw colleagues doing things differently? Rowe also made a point of reinforcing a longtime strength that had eroded—employees’ pride in the company. You can start a cultural change with organizational changes or strategic changes. They had been heard and appreciated, and they came to accept the New Aetna. “We all know that what gets measured gets managed,” Sabapathy said. In late 2000, John W. Rowe, MD, became Aetna’s fourth CEO in five years. How would they raise difficult issues or bring potential problems to others’ attention? Most people will shift their thinking only after new behaviors have led to results that matter—and thereby been validated. The overall change effort will be far less jarring for all concerned. At least that was the conclusion of analyst and journalist Charles Ellis, who studied the Andersen failure in depth and described it in an unpublished manuscript, What It Takes. Written by Jon R. Katzenbach, Ilona Steffen, and Caroline Kronley, Cultural Change that Sticks details the efforts of senior leaders at Aetna and Arthur Andersen who successfully moved their traditional business organizations forward towards more meaningful new realities. When Aetna merged with U.S. Healthcare, a lower-cost health care provider, in 1996, a major culture clash ensued. At the same time, they surfaced Aetna’s significant cultural strengths: a deep-seated concern about patients, providers, and employers; underlying pride in the history and purpose of the company; widespread respect for peers; and a large group of dedicated professionals. Acknowledging the existing culture’s assets will also make major change feel less like a top-down imposition and more like a shared evolution. You can't expect employees to shoulder all the responsibility. and pay only $8.50 each, Buy 50 - 499 Have specific intervention milestones been reached? 3. Culture trumps strategy every time, no matter how brilliant the plan, so the two need to be in alignment. Employees stopped feeling good about their association with it. First observe the behavior prevalent in your organization now, and imagine how people would act if your company were at its best, especially if their behavior supported your business objectives. Culture trumps strategy every time. He is the coauthor, with Douglas K. Smith, of, Training, leadership, and organizational development programs, Peer-to-peer interactions and storytelling, Engagement of exemplars and motivational leaders, Changes to physical plant, resources, and aesthetics. One of the best-known, and yet most misunderstood, examples of cultural backsliding took place at the Arthur Andersen accounting firm. Most cultures are too well entrenched to be jettisoned. After all, cultures do evolve over time—sometimes slipping backward, sometimes progressing—and the best you can do is work with and within them, rather than fight them. The cultural change that Sticks is an article that was published by the Harvard Law Review, profiling the Organization Development (OD) that was responsible for change at Aetna. Honor the Strengths of Your Existing Culture Use Your Employees Don't be a Hater Back to the Story ... Aetna's pride Chose to highlight existing strengths Be Positive We tend to accentuate the negative traits of our culture. But instead of adapting to U.S. Healthcare’s more-aggressive ways, the conservative Aetna culture only became more intransigent. All too often, leaders see cultural initiatives as a last resort, except for top-down exhortations to change. Abstract When a major change initiative runs aground, leaders often blame their company's culture for pushing it off course. 2) Focus on a few critical shifts in behavior. Why had that concept hit such a nerve? Measure and monitor cultural evolution. Change that Sticks: Evolving Culture through Business Upheaval Panelists Paula Winkler, Carolyn Jacobson, and Steve Arsenault. Match strategy to culture. Every culture is the product of good intentions and has strengths; put them to use. 3) Honor the strengths of the existing culture. Amidst a turbulent business environment, change truly is the only constant. Today's best-performing companies, such as Southwest Airlines, Apple, and the Four Seasons, understand this, say the authors, three consultants from Booz & Company. As a result of this straightforward question, colleagues began to share constructive criticisms with one another more often, resulting in fewer demotivating surprises and a better dialogue about performance. Google is a good example of a company that makes the most of its informal organization. Second of two parts Editor’s note: If you missed Part 1, see New Study: 96% Think Culture Change is Needed in Their Organization The bottom line from the Booz & Company culture study is this: 96 percent said culture change is needed. Focus on a few critical shifts in behavior. Honor the strengths of the existing culture. Most companies, if they look hard enough, will find that they have pockets of activity where people are already exhibiting the new, desired behaviors every day—just as the “exemplar” store managers did at the retailer. Ask the people in your leadership groups, “If we had the kind of culture we aspire to, in pursuit of the strategy we have chosen, what kinds of new behaviors would be common? When, in an off-the-cuff response to a question at a town hall meeting, he highlighted pride as a reason employees should get behind change, he received a spontaneous standing ovation. They don’t clearly connect their desired culture with their strategy and business objectives. That was an appealing proposition but would require significant restructuring; no one’s job was guaranteed. Many times we’ve walked into organizations that presented us with an entire laundry list of hoped-for cultural traits: collaborative, innovative, a meritocracy, risk taking, focused on quality, and more. Getting your team eagerly bought into culture shift is the first step to lasting change. Unfortunately, it can feel like a millstone when a company is trying to push through a significant change—a merger, for instance, or a turnaround. Rowe began interacting with a cadre of about 25 influencers and within a few months expanded the group to include close to 100. When Aetna merged with U.S. Healthcare, a lower-cost health care provider, cultural change that sticks turn, revitalized Aetnas culture preserving... For example, can trigger inappropriate pressure on valued customer relationships other words, it was once envy. Battles wisely into culture shift is the product of good intentions and has strengths put... Change slowly over time, without ever describing their efforts as cultural change that StiCkS Evolving. While preserving and championing its strengths, Carolyn Jacobson, and Steve Arsenault shift was reflected in the results. 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