The topic for this quarter’s #changeblogchallenge is Change Culture.
I started writing a list of the things that would describe an organization where change would be easier than most. Where change would be faster, smoother, and cause less disruption and pain. In other words, an organization with a culture of change.
The elements of this change-ready culture are:
An organization where people do what they say they will do, and get things done consistently, will implement change much easier than an organization where people regularly make excuses and blame others when things go wrong.
An organization that communicates the truth, good or bad, will create less change resistance than one that withholds key information, forcing people to fill in the gaps for themselves.
An organization where people work together across organizational boundaries, and consider the impact of their actions on other departments, will have fewer unintended consequences from their change projects than an organization walled off with silos.
An organization where leaders act in alignment, and match their words and actions over time will implement change faster than those that send mixed messages.
An organization where people care about each other and their work experience will go farther than one where people are merely resources, assets, or FTEs.
And as I made this list, I realized there is a common thread running through all of these elements of a change-ready culture: Trust.
In fact all of these elements both require trust and build trust at the same time.
To be accountable, you have to trust that others will do their part. And when you can be counted on to get things done, you build trust.
Transparency in communication means you trust people with information. And being transparent builds trust by showing people you won’t lie or withhold information.
Collaboration requires that we trust people to work with us and not against us. And the more we collaborate, the more we know and trust each other.
Consistency, especially between leaders, means they trust each other not to go off script. And consistency builds trust in change across the organization.
Caring about people means you trust them not to take advantage of your caring. And showing you care about them, and that they aren’t just a cog in the machine, builds trust.
So I can reasonably assume that a culture of change ultimately comes down to just one thing:
Trust breaks down fear and skepticism about change. It helps people take the risks required for change to happen. The higher the trust factor, the smoother change will be, because people are better able to work together to get it done. If you want to develop a change-ready organization, build trust.
This article is part of the #ChangeBlogChallenge on the topic of Change Culture. Click here to see what other change thinkers say about this topic. Are you participating in the #ChangeBlogChallenge? Feel free to leave the link to your blog article in the comments.
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