I don’t usually say this kind of thing, but it’s kind of bullsh*t that culture change is hard.
You and your leadership team each own how you behave individually, and how you show up and behave collectively. Your culture is shaped by your repeated behaviors, what you allow and what you don’t.
If you’re not willing to take a look at your own behavior, or if you don’t have the discipline to practice changing how you show up, maybe say “it’s really hard to self-reflect and improve,” or “I need an excuse to stay in the blame/justify behaviors that I’m accustomed to.” Or “it’s really hard to agree to set aside time to practice changing the culture.” Or “I can’t get my leadership team to agree on how we want to behave.” Then address that.
Get your leadership team* together for a few hours in a room or virtual space where you can all see each other. Decide how you want to work together: What will you change? Pick one to three critical things to work on. Describe what it looks like now, and the small ways you will know you are doing each of these behaviors differently.
Start together, practice together
Start small so you can feel successful, regularly. The feeling of success is critical to habit formation, to getting the new behaviors set. Discuss what small changes you will all look for in each other. Decide which meetings you will seek to observe these new behaviors in.
Make practice fun
Create a fun language of rewards (“Whoo! Backwards bicycle!”) and slips (“banana moment!” or “old tape**!”). When we’re practicing something new, we need to be allowed to get it wrong, and get back up and keep trying.
This is not a separate practice
Ideally you work on your culture change practice while you work together on a focused set of goals that for the quarter. How will you work towards your goals using your new working agreements? In which meetings?
Stop saying culture change is hard. Start practicing.
Getting started with your practice is easier with an expert facilitator. Contact Elevate today if you’re done with the bullsh*t and ready to get clarity, get together, and start practicing.
*This could be a small team of direct reports, or it could be 100 people that lead your operational value streams.
**Try not to call these slips poor or wrong behaviors; instead these call them old or previous behaviors, old tapes you’re playing. Yes, like cassettes or 8 tracks or VHS.