Over the last year or so, I’ve had to confront organizational culture as the most significant obstacle to several change initiatives. If you are reading this, then you’ve probably heard the words, “That’s the way we do things here,” or “That’s the way it’s always been.” You know what I’m talking about.
Then last week I read an article in Business Week by Jonathan Alter (not someone I ordinarily regard as a “change guru”) that triggered a few thoughts. Particularly this sentence:
“The stove-piping that hampers so many bureaucracies can’t be busted on paper, only in practice. Organization charts only matter in organizations that aren’t nimble and effective in the first place.” Read the entire article here.
In GE’s Change Acceleration Process (CAP) model, both Leadership and Organizational Systems & Structures are established and functioning on the first day of your project. I’m now thinking that you need to consider that organizational culture is also established and functioning at project inception, and must be considered on day one, as is leadership and systems & structures. See the graphic below.
Culture goes beyond leadership, and permeates all aspects of organizational behavior. When you hear, “That’s the way we do things here,” that’s code for: Several levels of existing leadership have been developed and prospered under conditions like these: