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Article Details

How to transform organizational culture

Philippine Daily Inquirer 31 May 2015 Enrique V. Abadesco - Enrique "Ric" is considered a pioneer in the organization development (OD) field in the Philippines, having headed the first formal OD unit of San Miguel Corporation during the company's transformative years.

CEOs in the turmoil of organizational transitions often ask their change management consultants: How do I transform my organization? What lessons can I learn from the experience of others?

Changing business organizations is like fixing a racing car while speeding at 200 kilometers an hour. Leaders have to face the challenges and urgencies of running the business on a day to day basis while at the same time build a new organization for the future.

Rule 1: Transformation is the CEO's business

At the risk of sounding redundant, Rule 1 is the first truism of successful change. However it still needs to be said: The CEO must be in the driver's seat and must visibly influence the change. Note the word "influence" as culture change is more complex than just leadership being in the driver's seat and is certainly beyond one individual's control. If you are a new CEO trying to change an old, existing organization, the challenge is doubly formidable.

The basics of leading change are, however, deceptively simple: state your dreams and convictions loud and clear, dramatize the link between your vision and the firm's future survival and success, live the change and do it consistently… everyday. And most importantly, get everyone on board! Your senior management team is a good place to start. You and your senior executives need to be on the same wavelength in terms of your vision and values and behaviors. You may want to start defining a specific brand of leadership, one which embodies the new assumptions and values of the organizational culture you want to reinforce. Working effectively as a team is another pathway which needs to be explored. Identifying key priorities and mapping out a roadmap for the whole organization facilitates the journey. Transformation is the main job of the chief executive, not a task to be delegated to her HR person.

Rule 2: Chart your destination and post signs along the way

Articulate your view of why the business exists, where you want it to be in the future, the most important principles that will guide the organization and the critical performance areas you want the focus on. Do this together with your leadership team. When Andres Soriano, Jr. took the reins of the San Miguel business empire, he took his senior executives to a 3-day business retreat in Honolulu to collectively ponder on these issues.

They came back with a team name and an agenda for culture change. They called themselves "SMC-squared" or the Senior Management Committee of SMC and met on a monthly basis for the next several years to lead the change on San Miguel's century-old culture. Ten years later, the cultural terrain of the new San Miguel was amazingly close to the original map.

Rule 3: Use multiple levers to catalyze change

This rule relies on systems thinking which views organizations as living organisms composed of many "sub-systems" and as part of many "super-systems" above it. As such, any change in its super- and sub-systems affects the whole. In the case of changing corporate cultures, it may be helpful to think of transformation as having the following sub-systems: leadership, structures, systems, competencies and strategy. Systems thinking also suggests that transformation happens as a result of many small things, happening over time.

When SMC2 planned the new San Miguel, it used the multiple-lever approach starting with defining its vision and core values. Under the leadership sub-system, it defined a leadership brand, moving from autocratic to a more participative style, from a reactive to a more future-oriented posture and from a focus on products to a focus on markets and the customer. The company set up an accelerated management succession program, installing new and young managers who embodied the new style into senior executive positions. All supervisors and managers underwent in-depth orientation into the San Miguel Management System, a management development training center was formally established, technical centers of excellence were set up and a formal management succession program was put in place.

Rule 4: Prioritize and sequence your change levers

Your behaviors as well as those of your senior executives are the primary levers to induce culture change. These behaviors include:

• Deliberate role modeling, teaching and coaching. This would include public verbal declarations, memos, as well as highlighting of values and norms in coaching and mentoring situations.

• What you pay attention to, measure and control. A powerful aspect of this attention-giving mechanism is the occasional and purposive "emotional outburst" of leaders to violations of key values and beliefs. The other side of this is what you ignore or don't react to. At a more formal level, planning and monitoring processes (long range planning and budgets) provide the forum through which messages of attention are sent.

• Promotions and pay increases tied up to the practice of new assumptions and values. Also related to this are the criteria for recruitment, derailment and retirement.

Secondary levers of change will work only if the primary mechanism of "leadership by example" is in place. Among the most commonly used secondary mechanisms of change are: structure, systems and procedures, facilities, physical layout and arrangements and formal policy statements. In the early stage, using some element of coercion can also be a powerful lever. This can take the shape of moving aside or even firing some senior executives who could not adapt to the new values. The author, when he was an OD manager in an international chemical company, facilitated a worldwide meeting of the newly appointed CEO who dramatically thrashed two highly visible management reports as a symbol of a new management style.

Rule 5: Use a planned change process

Adopt a systematic process for leading change. There are numerous versions, one of which is a compilation by the author, as follows:

1. Mobilize leadership commitment for change through a collective analysis of issues and challenges

2. Design the desired future state through a shared vision

3. Plan the way and manage resistance to change

4. Execute the plan through the 3C's: Consult, Communicate, Coordinate

5. Align policies, systems and structures

6. Measure, monitor and sustain progress

The process outlined above is just one example of a systematic transformational approach. Organization development specialists use large group summits as a way to involve and engage a critical mass of change agents. A critical mass would typically consist of the second tier of leaders and would include a diverse group of employees coming from different levels, functions and geographies. An im- portant outcome of these dialogues is a collective mindset and commitment to a set of actions leading to a shift in the organization's culture.

In a study of successful corporate transformations, some common threads in terms of initial activities (even before working on a formal change plan) are evident: 1) CEOs leading successful change build initial credibility by attending to the brush fires first, in the process, ensuring short term turnaround of the business; 2) reorganized the senior management team, often by bringing in new blood; 3) used a top down and bottom up approach, creating a critical mass to jump-start the transformation; 4) initiated a steady and continuous build-up of activities instead of stop-and-start mega-initiatives; 5) paid a lot of attention to people issues and provided safety nets to ensure acceptance of change; 6) formed a change agent unit chartered to steer and monitor the transformation; 7) used the authority of their office to proclaim, inspire and even occasionally coerce the new assumptions and norms into the mainstream culture. The privatization story of one of the water utility franchises in Manila provides a classic example of these change steps and how following these steps contributed to a successful cultural change.

An approach by Roland Sullivan, a thought leader in organizational transformation, lays out a systematic four-tier approach called Whole System Transformation. This approach culls Sullivan's vast experience and research on organization development and provides a four-phase progression towards dramatic shifts in mindset and business results.

Your mix of interventions will depend on your collective analysis and change objectives. Do not front-load your interventions. Remember that Rome was not built in a day, so creating a new culture will take some time. Spread out your change initiatives (be guided by Rule 4) and steadily build it up instead of undertaking start and stop mega-initiatives.

 

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer 31 May 2015

Read full article here: Rules 6 to 9 https://www.pressreader.com/philippines/philippine-daily-inquirer/20150531/282638916187865

 

How to transform organizational culture

Philippine Daily Inquirer 31 May 2015 Enrique V. Abadesco - Enrique "Ric" is considered a pioneer in the organization development (OD) field in the Philippines, having headed the first formal OD unit of San Miguel Corporation during the company's transformative years.

CEOs in the turmoil of organizational transitions often ask their change management consultants: How do I transform my organization? What lessons can I learn from the experience of others?

Changing business organizations is like fixing a racing car while speeding at 200 kilometers an hour. Leaders have to face the challenges and urgencies of running the business on a day to day basis while at the same time build a new organization for the future.

Rule 1: Transformation is the CEO's business

At the risk of sounding redundant, Rule 1 is the first truism of successful change. However it still needs to be said: The CEO must be in the driver's seat and must visibly influence the change. Note the word "influence" as culture change is more complex than just leadership being in the driver's seat and is certainly beyond one individual's control. If you are a new CEO trying to change an old, existing organization, the challenge is doubly formidable.

The basics of leading change are, however, deceptively simple: state your dreams and convictions loud and clear, dramatize the link between your vision and the firm's future survival and success, live the change and do it consistently… everyday. And most importantly, get everyone on board! Your senior management team is a good place to start. You and your senior executives need to be on the same wavelength in terms of your vision and values and behaviors. You may want to start defining a specific brand of leadership, one which embodies the new assumptions and values of the organizational culture you want to reinforce. Working effectively as a team is another pathway which needs to be explored. Identifying key priorities and mapping out a roadmap for the whole organization facilitates the journey. Transformation is the main job of the chief executive, not a task to be delegated to her HR person.

Rule 2: Chart your destination and post signs along the way

Articulate your view of why the business exists, where you want it to be in the future, the most important principles that will guide the organization and the critical performance areas you want the focus on. Do this together with your leadership team. When Andres Soriano, Jr. took the reins of the San Miguel business empire, he took his senior executives to a 3-day business retreat in Honolulu to collectively ponder on these issues.

They came back with a team name and an agenda for culture change. They called themselves "SMC-squared" or the Senior Management Committee of SMC and met on a monthly basis for the next several years to lead the change on San Miguel's century-old culture. Ten years later, the cultural terrain of the new San Miguel was amazingly close to the original map.

Rule 3: Use multiple levers to catalyze change

This rule relies on systems thinking which views organizations as living organisms composed of many "sub-systems" and as part of many "super-systems" above it. As such, any change in its super- and sub-systems affects the whole. In the case of changing corporate cultures, it may be helpful to think of transformation as having the following sub-systems: leadership, structures, systems, competencies and strategy. Systems thinking also suggests that transformation happens as a result of many small things, happening over time.

When SMC2 planned the new San Miguel, it used the multiple-lever approach starting with defining its vision and core values. Under the leadership sub-system, it defined a leadership brand, moving from autocratic to a more participative style, from a reactive to a more future-oriented posture and from a focus on products to a focus on markets and the customer. The company set up an accelerated management succession program, installing new and young managers who embodied the new style into senior executive positions. All supervisors and managers underwent in-depth orientation into the San Miguel Management System, a management development training center was formally established, technical centers of excellence were set up and a formal management succession program was put in place.

Rule 4: Prioritize and sequence your change levers

Your behaviors as well as those of your senior executives are the primary levers to induce culture change. These behaviors include:

• Deliberate role modeling, teaching and coaching. This would include public verbal declarations, memos, as well as highlighting of values and norms in coaching and mentoring situations.

• What you pay attention to, measure and control. A powerful aspect of this attention-giving mechanism is the occasional and purposive "emotional outburst" of leaders to violations of key values and beliefs. The other side of this is what you ignore or don't react to. At a more formal level, planning and monitoring processes (long range planning and budgets) provide the forum through which messages of attention are sent.

• Promotions and pay increases tied up to the practice of new assumptions and values. Also related to this are the criteria for recruitment, derailment and retirement.

Secondary levers of change will work only if the primary mechanism of "leadership by example" is in place. Among the most commonly used secondary mechanisms of change are: structure, systems and procedures, facilities, physical layout and arrangements and formal policy statements. In the early stage, using some element of coercion can also be a powerful lever. This can take the shape of moving aside or even firing some senior executives who could not adapt to the new values. The author, when he was an OD manager in an international chemical company, facilitated a worldwide meeting of the newly appointed CEO who dramatically thrashed two highly visible management reports as a symbol of a new management style.

Rule 5: Use a planned change process

Adopt a systematic process for leading change. There are numerous versions, one of which is a compilation by the author, as follows:

1. Mobilize leadership commitment for change through a collective analysis of issues and challenges

2. Design the desired future state through a shared vision

3. Plan the way and manage resistance to change

4. Execute the plan through the 3C's: Consult, Communicate, Coordinate

5. Align policies, systems and structures

6. Measure, monitor and sustain progress

The process outlined above is just one example of a systematic transformational approach. Organization development specialists use large group summits as a way to involve and engage a critical mass of change agents. A critical mass would typically consist of the second tier of leaders and would include a diverse group of employees coming from different levels, functions and geographies. An im- portant outcome of these dialogues is a collective mindset and commitment to a set of actions leading to a shift in the organization's culture.

In a study of successful corporate transformations, some common threads in terms of initial activities (even before working on a formal change plan) are evident: 1) CEOs leading successful change build initial credibility by attending to the brush fires first, in the process, ensuring short term turnaround of the business; 2) reorganized the senior management team, often by bringing in new blood; 3) used a top down and bottom up approach, creating a critical mass to jump-start the transformation; 4) initiated a steady and continuous build-up of activities instead of stop-and-start mega-initiatives; 5) paid a lot of attention to people issues and provided safety nets to ensure acceptance of change; 6) formed a change agent unit chartered to steer and monitor the transformation; 7) used the authority of their office to proclaim, inspire and even occasionally coerce the new assumptions and norms into the mainstream culture. The privatization story of one of the water utility franchises in Manila provides a classic example of these change steps and how following these steps contributed to a successful cultural change.

An approach by Roland Sullivan, a thought leader in organizational transformation, lays out a systematic four-tier approach called Whole System Transformation. This approach culls Sullivan's vast experience and research on organization development and provides a four-phase progression towards dramatic shifts in mindset and business results.

Your mix of interventions will depend on your collective analysis and change objectives. Do not front-load your interventions. Remember that Rome was not built in a day, so creating a new culture will take some time. Spread out your change initiatives (be guided by Rule 4) and steadily build it up instead of undertaking start and stop mega-initiatives.

 

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer 31 May 2015

Read full article here: Rules 6 to 9 https://www.pressreader.com/philippines/philippine-daily-inquirer/20150531/282638916187865

 

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Articles

PQA Assessors Preparatory Course September 25 - 29, 2017

The Assessors Preparatory Course  is a 5-day live-in training course which aims to develop the technical competencies of participants to evaluate PQA applications and to condu... (Read More)

How to transform organizational culture

Philippine Daily Inquirer 31 May 2015 Enrique V. Abadesco - Enrique "Ric" is considered a pioneer in the organization development (OD) field in the Philippines, having he... (Read More)

Mother's Sacrifice ( For Mothers Day Celebration)

My mom only had one eye. I hated her… she was such an embarrassment. My mom ran a small shop at a flea market. She collected little weeds and such to sell… anything f... (Read More)

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Inviting all potential and/or interested PQA Applicants to attend the PQC Applicants Training. PQA Applicants training, is a two-day training course which is designed ... (Read More)

sheer willpower, passion for quality, and unwavering faith

Milit Baron had always known she belongs to the hotel and food industry. As a young girl, what she enjoyed most during parties were the tiny details that would make them a success.... (Read More)