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Corporate Culture: A Turnaround for Management Performance

One of the first thing that its important when one run turnaround cases is to take the temperature on the organizations.

Very often we see it can be difficult to take the temperature of the organizations. A new CEO can decide so many changes as he wants but so long the middle managers do not accept the changes it will be a disaster. Recent research shows that middle managers is being part of the obstruction which means that one does not achieve the changes that is necessary to achieve for the company.

Dr. Glenn Hole, author of " Turnaround the Corporate Culture" (2016) defended his PhD dissertation in 2010 at the Norwegian School of Economic where his research confirms that middle managers often fighting rounds of discussions – and sabotages. Middle manager has significantly greater “responsibility” for the outcome of the changes than previously thought.

In 2011 he was appointed the new CEO of Norwegian School of Economics, and in 2013 it was over. Everyone had great expectations for his accession and everyone was agreeing that he was right man in the right place. The ambitions were huge and he had big ambitions to make significant organizational changes at the Norwegian School of Economics. Unfortunately, it did not take long before the challenges started to top out for Dr. Hope as the new CEO. The middle managers of the organization did not want to change. So what Dr. Hope described in his doctoral thesis was fulfilled and he was not able to involve the middle managers to implement the changes he thought would be important for the organizations.

How do we draw conclusions out of this? The conclusion is that if you want to succeed with profound changes in an organization must involve the middle management team. This is where Dr. Hole think Lean comes in as a very good methodology. Lean is interdisciplinary, the traditional professions with silo thinking cannot be used. Interdisciplinary is the key to success. Lean is a quality improvement methodology and a set of principles derived from Toyota. Lean is equally applicable in complex knowledge organizations as it is in clean production enterprises with more traditional assembly line production.

His advice: "I have gone through quite a lot of organizational changes myself some of which impacted the culture positively and some that had disastrous consequences. Here are the top five actions that did/do work in triggering afresh energy, enthusiasm and effectiveness in the workplace to turnaround the corporate culture:

Step one: Figure out what aspect of culture needs to change – And to do this, you have to start with an assessment of your company vision statement. Is your vision statement still relevant to inspire the cultural changes you want? Do people still believe that it is an attainable vision for the company? People need to have hope for the future – is your vision.

Step two: Identify the Influencers in the organization and bring them “in” – Who do people look up to in the organization, whose views do they listen to, who do they respect ? If you can convince these informal influencers on the need for a cultural change and the sincerity behind your intent to change the culture, your battle is half-way won.

Step three: Start Walking the Talk in Small Steps – Culture is a combination of many small things. It is the way the organization works internally and responds externally. So what better way to reinforce the culture than demonstrating the cultural change that is needed by how you work and respond in everyday interactions? One step at a time. Don’t try to change the entire company at once. Start with one process or workflow and begin the change there through your actions (and resulting success) and then say “This is how we respond together” to drive the change.

Step four: Be Courageous in Weeding out Behaviors that do not align with the Company Culture – Set a time period for the culture changes to take effect. And during this period and especially after this period, be quick, decisive and consistent in addressing the negative influences. As they say, one bad apple spoils the basket – not only do you need to ensure that you hire, promote and reward people not just for skills or performance but for attitude and behavior's that aligns with the culture that you want to foster but also help people who are not aligned to be aligned or move them quickly out of the organization.

Step five: Communicate and Celebrate the Winning Culture – People need to know they are part of something special and unique. And this is where sustained messaging comes in – there are so many inexpensive ways to do this apart from the standard blog, intranet and collaboration tools. Culture is also built in-person with live conversations and interactions. Creating and retelling of the stories about the company (how it began, turning points, big wins) are important and so are establishing traditions that allow staff to let off some steam, relax and just have some fun (Maniac Mondays, Fun Fridays, Annual Days, Spot Awards – get creative !)."

For Dr Hole, in a leadership company most people will like their work. Dr. Hole also believe on corporate responsibilities, where the company and employees work together for a better cause within charity. Leading fosters, a working atmosphere that stimulates an open exchange of ideas and fosters dissent.


Turnaround the Corporate Culture – Business Operations Performance Management, 2016 – The Management Philosopher – Dr. Glenn Hole.

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