Culture can feel like a mythical beast - but we definitely know if we're working in a 'bad' one.
I had a lovely evening yesterday, speaking about the culture of change at the Change Management Institute. It was a fascinating chat and I enjoyed listening to Michal Wisniewski, founder of Flock, making us think about the neuroscience factors and the impact of not knowing your culture.
I shared my tips for thinking about culture when you're preparing a plan for to engage people through change:
Be a bit David Attenborough. To work out 'what it's like round here' you need to observe people in their natural habitat. Not suggesting you hide behind the plants, but do make sure your data and info is based on what it's really like on the ground.
Check the culture drivers. Plan your detective work around the four main areas that can positively or negatively affect culture - purpose, leadership, employees and environment & systems.
Go back in time. Don't just look at the culture drivers today. If people have been around for a while find out what's happened. Even writing out this story can be very helpful to explain why you've chosen your strategy and tactics.
Weigh it up. Your research will tell you some things weigh more than others - even if they might not seem to at first glance. Plan tactics that meet the weight of the real problem.
Involve people. The fastest way to land change is to involve the people who'll be affected by it. Don't just give them the finished article and expect them to learn it. Ask them to describe it in their own way. Find out what they think. Ask them to make it better.
Spend some time finding out what the culture reality is. It will pay dividends when you're planning your story, channels and approach to engaging people through change.
What do you include in your detective work?