ProImpress | Aligning Behavior with Corporate Strategy
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11 Mar Aligning Behavior with Corporate Strategy


Every business leader understands that you don’t change a business overnight. Still, it’s not uncommon for leaders– pressed for time, determined to return immediate value, needing proof of ROI, and limited by logistics – to wish for the equivalent of a pill to bring about the changes required to meet their business objectives. Organizations want and need a simple, elegant, sustainable, affordable and timely approach to strategy deployment. This must include a plan to shape the culture so that it reflects the new direction; for instance, building greater client-facing effectiveness, increasing diversity, developing a culture of habitual peer and manager feedback, instituting mentoring, and improving executive presence and presentation skills. One such plan from Professional Impressions Consulting moves an organization through Five Stages of Culture Change while paying attention to Seven Critical Culture Change Drivers and enlisting the support of Invested Stakeholders across functions and levels. When applied with discipline and coordination, this approach delivers A+ Results.

Five Stages of Culture Change

There are five stages of an effective culture change process: Plan, Design, Implement, Measure, Sustain. The perspectives of the stages proceed from global and visionary (future), to focused and actionable (present), and finally to evaluative and instructive (past). Moving through the stages requires discipline and coordination to achieve the potential for the greatest success.

  • Plan: The plan spells out the big picture rationale for change, and it begins to define broad parameters for how to proceed: size of the budget, timing, the measures for success and who’s to participate.
  • Design: Taking senior directives, translating them into a detailed action plan, and keeping the implementation on track are the jobs of the appointed change agents. These agitators-for-change rollout the initiative and check back with the leadership group at each stage.
  • Implement: Actions start happening: Senior leadership sponsors, mid-level managers, front-line representatives and the change agent group are all engaged for the best outcome.
  • Measure: Pre-determined metrics are itemized at the beginning, benchmarked through assessments and other instruments, and assessed again at the end of the project.
  • Sustain: Reinforcement over a period of 18 months, along with a hard-wired approach to institutionalizing the expected behaviors and processes for the long-term, bring about sustainable impact.The Seven Critical Culture Change Drivers



The Seven Critical Culture Change Drivers

Throughout the Five Stages of Culture Change, these seven factors must consistently be aligned to get the measurable, sustainable results you want and need.

  • Leadership’s Business Case for Change: This becomes the centerpiece for communications to all stakeholders, and it becomes the foundation for sustaining enthusiasm when the going gets tough (which it will);
  • Communications: Get the word out. Shape expectations early and often. Let people know why you need them to change, how it will impact them, the organization and their clients, and how it will benefit everyone.
  • Behavioral Definition and Assessment: Defining on a granular level what they need to be doing differently on the job – processes, skills, tools, support – enables employees to be successful and feel relevant and significant in the change effort. It also allows managers to better model, coach, mentor and hold people accountable.
  • Pre-/Post 1-/Post 2-assessment: Benchmarking and monitoring outcomes and behaviors will give you the clearest, most appropriate measure of impact so that you can begin to quantify how behavioral change correlates to the broader measures of success, such as client satisfaction and retention, and more.
  • Training/Coaching/Mentoring: Teach it. Model it. Coach and mentor to it. Reinforce it. Expect it. Inspect it. Classroom-based training — reinforced with coaching, mentoring, webinars and other activities — creates the opportunity for client-facing personnel to succeed in developing habits for the new culture.
  • Performance Management: Hardwire the behaviors and processes into the performance management system.
  • Systems Alignment: Beyond communications and performance management reside additional systems that influence the ability of the client-facing representatives to do their jobs effectively in the new culture, namely: technology, compensation, rewards and recognition, development and promotions.


Involving Invested Stakeholders

Ideally, key stakeholders within the organization become engaged:

  • Senior leaders, mid-level management, front-line constituents, and change agents (a small group charged with overseeing the process.)

Measuring A+ Sustainable Results

Culture change succeeds when collective attitudes, approaches, actions, accountabilities and after-effects are shifted and reset.

  • Attitudes: People within the organization embrace the need for change and their role in it;
  • Approaches: New ways of doing things behaviorally and systemically will lead to new – and improved – results;
  • Actions: Employees understand, practice and demonstrate the new behaviors;
  • Accountabilities: From self-, peer- and manager-feedback, to aligned systems such as performance management, it’s key that actions are assigned, expected and inspected; and
  • After-effects: From the use of training to the prevalence of coaching in the culture to the satisfaction of employees and clients, checking impact and making adjustments will help lead to the desired ROI.