Friday, July 23, 2010

How Do You Change Corporate Culture?

At the root of all our profit improvement work lies the transformation of corporate culture.  We seldom use that term, as over the years it has become diluted, vague, and clinched.  We prefer a more modern term, the Operating Dynamic.  Unfortunately, even though it is gaining in acceptance and currency, many people remain unfamiliar with it.
And, as almost every company in the country is now in need of more profits, higher performance, greater competitiveness, and as the very essence of any improvement requires changing the operating dynamic, it may be time to dust off the old term.
But let us first define corporate culture in business terms:
  • The resultant leadership available to guide and drive a company after all internal dissonance is accounted for.  Or
  • That complex of organizational and human attributes that underlie, drive and impel all corporate expectations, motivations, and performance, from creation of vision, through execution, to final result.  Note, we are not talking here of individuals, no matter what their position, but rather of the collective.
These attributes are intrinsic functions of management (-as-a-whole), caused by management, and are entirely within the control of management. 
So central to performance are these attributes that changing just three of them by 20% changes the bottom line by 40%.  Comparable to increasing financial investment by 70% or increasing workforce by 25% - without the paperwork.  They cost virtually nothing to change.  And they can be easily changed. 
OK, that does not sound all that easy, but trust me on this one, it is easy.
There are three ways to change culture:
  • One person at a time - either by transforming each individual or by replacing them;
  • One process or issue at a time - this is reengineering; or
  • The entire company - at once.
We favor the latter.  We created a unique transformation technology to do so.  It is profoundly successful. 
For an article on this, see Fire in the Corporate Belly.  For the results of this process see (a third party) Interview With a CEO.

Tom FitzGerald (Author: Fire in the Corporate Belly)
FitzGerald Associates, Est. 1976     
Lake Forest, Illinois - Phone  847-599-9960