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Monday, June 19, 2017

Changing the Culture

The animal kingdom has survived for millions of years on a simple concept: Adapt or disappear.

So why do we, the more intelligent of species (big assumption), seem to have such a difficult time with change? The answer is fear. And, what do we fear? If you think about it, all fear is born out of a sense of losing control. For control. For example, it would seem irrational to fear standing on a solid structure, say a park bench, two feet off the ground. However, it seems quite normal to fear standing on solid structure eighty feet off the ground.

Why the difference? Do we fear the instability of the structure? Usually, not. Our fear is our own instability. We might lose control and fall, or even worse yet, jump!

Change takes away our sense of control. Change brings a situation that is usually new and unfamiliar territory. Consider the proverb…

“For the timid, change is something to be feared; for the complacent, change is a threat, but to the confident, change represents opportunity.”

The greatest barriers to innovation and possibilities are in our own minds. These barriers are known as paradigms. Paradigms are rules or mindsets that govern and define how we perceive and interpret a given situation. Paradigm shifts are fundamental changes to these rules or mindsets. They are revolutionary rather than evolutionary.

Here are some steps to more your organization through the cultural change of implementing lean.

  1. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate. Make the change as transparent as possible.
  2. Leverage your intellectual and creative capital. Listen to what people say. Implement their ideas.
  3. Be in a constant state of learning. Investment in the training and education of your workforce will pay big dividends.
  4. Live by good organizational habits. Reinforce the discipline of making high standards a way of life.
  5. Focus on organizational goals. Your initiatives should be realistic and aligned with the goals of the organization.
  6. Be obsessed with customer service. If you’re not, someone else will.
  7. Encourage intelligent risk taking. Challenge the organization to reach out beyond the comfort zone.
  8. Work hard at building trust. It’s difficult to gain, but easy to lose.
  9. Constantly improve. Benchmark an absolute standard of perfection.

Company culture is important because it can make or break your company. Companies with an adaptive culture that is aligned to their business goals routinely outperform their competitors.

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