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Creating Cultural Change


What is the culture of your team?  College basketball teams are nearing the semester break… is it the same as you committed to and built in the off-season?  Are your standards of behavior in place and the same now as they were before?

The cultural ebb and flow of any given season is drastically different every year.  How each coaching staff manages those waters and fits all the pieces together is often the key to being able to win close games against similarly talented opponents, upsetting better teams and losing games to team you shouldn’t.

There are many, many teams right now looking at themselves and feeling as though they aren’t quite where they want to be.  Underachievement.  Injury.  Tough losses.  Losing season after higher expectations.

A business process can provide us an in-season idea.

For 100 years, KONE had been a global leader in the elevator and escalator industry.  In 2007 new CEO Vance Tang was alarmed at the lack of customer focus and inconsistent operational discipline.  He expected more from KONE — and he viewed leadership development and culture change, ultimately focused on the customer, as the best way to get there.

A process called Transforming Your Organization was implemented by the CCL with the KONE senior leadership team.  The senior leadership team members did not delegate leadership development.  Rather, they started with themselves.

Right now, in-season… look first at yourself and your staff.  Don’t be in a hurry to use the age-old excuses, “the players won’t do what they are supposed to do.”  “We need better players.”  That may be true, but find a way to change the culture, now, in-season – salvage what you can.  The answer is out there, find it.  What changes can you make, minor or major, to help your team and program for the better after exams?  Trust in each other, talk to each other, and get ideas from fresh eyes and coaches you trust.  Anyone can have a great thought or idea.  Look at every facet possible.

According to Vance,  “We (KONE) had to appreciate that we had to change ourselves first in order to change the culture.  We spent time on feedback, trust and dialogue. Now we can openly challenge each other and achieve better outcomes because we can all be on the same page and work much faster.”

Challenging each other and getting on the same page… two important keys for self-analysis and improvement in any type of successful organization.

Then came the next step: engaging the top 100 KONE Americas leaders in a two-day event dedicated to strategic direction and, just as significantly, the changes in mindset and leadership needed to enact the strategy.  Vance began by laying out the vision of getting from No. 4 to becoming THE industry leader. The senior leadership team members then did something remarkable.  They engaged in dialogue among themselves while onstage in front of everyone.

Get in the conference room and talk… no idea or thought is stupid.  Open it up.

KONE leaders talked about how they were changing personally and as a leadership team facing big changes.  They explored the leadership style necessary for achieving their new vision and plotted concrete steps to reach it.

A two-day event may not seem possible for you in-season… but you will have some time with the players in exams.  Dedicate time: i.e. early office time, late office time, time during recruiting travel… two hours a day for five days specifically on this project.  10 hours between now and New Years Eve.

Even the positive outcome will still be a work in progress for the remainder of the season and there is no guarantee that the ship will be righted.  BUT, if you don’t invest the time, open-mindedness and self-analysis approach, it’s guaranteed no change will occur on it’s own.

The change at KONE remains in progress.  Customer satisfaction has tripled and employee engagement has reached world-class levels. Safety incidents dropped over 70 percent.  Market share and profits rose significantly despite the global recession.

Transforming Your Organization “is not a step-by-step plan.  It’s not an HR program.  It’s a more complicated journey of shared leadership.  We had to learn how to collaborate and be interdependent in order to make this journey,” says Chuck.

Invest in your staff, players, and people.  Enter the journey of shared leadership, empowering the value of every member of the program.  If you have them around, use each person’s gifts and strengths.  Grow and look at any source for an idea, an edge.  It just might change your entire career.

Adapted from: Creating Cultural Change

via Center for Creative Leadership

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