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    All eyes are on culture as the cause and the cure.

    Culture articles pictureAt the Gold Coast HR Symposium, Craig McFadden shared practical case studies highlighting that culture change is more likely to be achieved when it includes transforming the way we organise the business and designing new systems to motivate people to perform at a high level.

    Leaders who treat the need for a culture change as a “simple add-on” to the other things they need to do, will have missed the point that your culture is the reason you will succeed or fail.

    Edgar Schein (Professor Emeritus at the MIT Sloan School of Management) one of the foremost experts on culture, recently suggested that “Culture is a bottomless pit of questions and problems' and that Leaders shouldn’t focus on culture change, rather Leaders should focus on business problems.

    The cover story of the April 2016 Harvard Business Review is titled "Culture is not the Culprit." The sub-title is "When organizations are in crisis, it's usually because the business is broken.”

    The authors' argue that a common panacea for organizational ineffectiveness is to "fix the culture" and they propose that culture isn't something you fix.

    They contend that cultural change is "what you get after you put new processes or structures in place to tackle tough business challenges or problems.”

    The article provides a number of case studies and a concise recap of the business challenge each CEO faced. While the challenges were different, there is remarkable similarity in the path to success. Steps include:

    • Define the vision, goals, and objectives: What is core to success, what is the current performance, and how will the organization know it's on the right track?
    • Set the pace and align the structures:
    • They then set expectations and aligned recognition, pay/incentive, and reporting structures to be in sync with their vision.
    • Celebrate the new: Share stories of actions and results that are consistent with the vision.

    The steps above closely parallel the process Savvy uses to help clients set a new direction, transform their culture and improve performance.

    Shaping the #culture of a company can be an extremely complex, long-term endeavour. By having an open discussion of what has to change, and then delivering it; transformation can indeed occur.

    Is that a culture fix? Is it a business fix? At the end of the day, it's the results, rather than the definition that matters.

    About the author: Craig McFadden is the founding director of Savvy HR. Craig's clear, practical counsel and ability to influence others into action and to rethink traditional HR practices with a business oriented lens, has gained him credibility with CEOs and executive leaders and he is frequently called on to serve as a strategic partner with the primary focus of defining, building and influencing the talent within leadership teams to drive business objectives.

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    Craig McFadden's clear, practical counsel and strong influencing and relationship building skills have gained him credibility at both the executive and line manager level and he is frequently called on to coach managers through complex industrial relations issues, termination or redundancy matters, performance reviews or to prepare for discussions with difficult individuals and team members.

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