Changing Both Culture and Behaviors During Organizational Transformations


When organizations launch transformation initiatives, it all comes down to how their employees receive and accommodate the changes. Whether the change is introducing new systems, merging with or acquiring another company, or opening a new satellite office, the organization’s leaders need to prepare their employees for the new way of doing things. That means impacting and influencing their culture and behaviors – two things that are intricately tied together. However, when many organizations start their transformations, they’ll often pick just one – either culture or behavior – and work on that.

One way to address both is to choose a transformation approach that changes the organization’s culture holistically through realigning a set of values and aspirations. By doing this, organizational leaders have the ability, using different tools and processes, to affect the values and attitudes of the people who work inside the organization, which can then translate into changing behaviors. Another way is to create a set of shared behaviors that become core values of the organization, which can then impact its culture.

There are lots of ways we can work on organizational transformations; it’s never one size fits all. However, focusing on both aspects – culture and behavior – is always more effective than focusing on just one. And the Cultural Orientations Approach and its suite of resources – including the Cultural Orientations Model, the Cultural Orientations Indicator and the Cultural Navigator platform – can help organizational leaders attune themselves to their employees’ cultures and behaviors on the individual, team, functional and organizational levels. They can map the cultural gaps among individuals, teams and departments to better understand their preferences. This helps organizational leaders strategically plan transformations and provide support along the way.

David Lange