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The best way to start is to ask yourself a series of questions.

What are the most important emotional


forces that determine what your people do? What few behavior changes would matter most in meeting
strategic and operational imperatives? Who are the authentic informal leaders you can enlist? And what
can you and your fellow senior leaders do differently to signal and reinforce those critical behaviors?

A unique personality and soul based on shared values and heritage

1. Perform a culture audit and set new expectations

Understanding whats unique about a companys heritage, whats strong in its current culture, and what
the culture is missing provides a solid base on which to build a culture change effort. To gain this
understanding, perform an audit of the culture.

Have one-on-one discussions with a broad sample of employees or conduct an organization-wide


survey. A review of cultural icons, such as a vision and values statement or the insights of a founder
that are passed around within a company, often highlights some of the core elements of the culture. The
audit must also probe a cultures weaknesses to identify the shortfalls that are holding the company
back from achieving its strategic goals. For example, a cultural audit performed at one company that
used to operate through standalone country-based units identified an important gap in global-
mindedness that seriously compromised its ability to serve cross-border clients.

3. Focus on results and build accountability

Culture is a means to an end, not an end in itself. The end is your businesss strategic agenda. To create
a culture that supports that agenda, set targets for the business and be explicit about how these targets
cascade down to individual managers. Then hold managers accountable for delivering. Weekly and
monthly reviews should focus on performance against targets and pay close attention to problem areas.
In communicating these expectations, company leaders should focus on attaining milestones and how
each team and unit can contribute to achieving results.

At St. George, this step included tracking customer service and advocacy at every level. These metrics
accounted for at least 15% of each employees evaluation, including Kellys. Managers were expected to
develop explicit customer service strategies to shift the focus from financial products toward services
and cross-selling.
6. Link behaviors to business objectives. When people talk about feelings, motivations, and values all
of which are vital elements of strong cultures the conversation can often veer into abstractions. It
may then range far afield of what it takes to succeed in the market. Too many employees walk away
from culture-focused town halls or values discussions wondering how the advice on how to be a better
person actually translates into the work they do. To avoid this disconnect, offer tangible, well-defined
examples of how cultural interventions lead to improved performance and financial outcomes. Select
behaviors that are aimed specifically at improving business performance and can be measured over
time.

1. Work with and within your current cultural situations. Deeply embedded cultures cannot be
replaced with simple upgrades, or even with major overhaul efforts. Nor can your culture be
swapped out for a new one as though it were an operating system or a CPU. To a degree, your
current cultural situation just is what it is and it contains components that provide natural
advantages to companies as well as components that may act as brakes. Weve never seen a
culture that is all bad, or one that is all good. To work with your culture effectively, therefore,
you must understand it, recognize which traits are preeminent and consistent, and discern
under what types of conditions these traits are likely to be a help or a hindrance. Put another
way, theres both a yin and a yang to cultural traits.

Find ways to inculcate the companys culture into new hires: also find a way to test them if they are
culturally fit for the organization.