Change Management from a personal experience.
Years ago I visited the corporate office of a German firm. They were a supplier to my business and were causing us all kinds of issues. Quality issues, shipping discrepancies were beginning to affect our customers.
I arrived to meet with the Quality Manager near lunch time, Herr Kruger suggested we meet with his team; as we entered the laboratory I was surprised to observe a small party with wine and snacks underway. Mr. Kruger explained that his team was celebrating a small success.
Change and Culture the two “C” words that are viral in Leadership, business writing. Organizational Culture and Leadership Surveys – Denison Consulting is a Michigan Group that links organizational surveys to organizational performance metrics.
Treat Teams like a Garden
“if you want it to grow – pour a little wine on it!”
We should consider a few key points about culture. Culture is a soft concept vs. hard data. The idea of concepts goes back to John Locke and Kant. Concepts are based on comparison, reflection and segregation of mental images, then and now. Another key to cultural understanding, sometimes overlooked, is we are the culture. It’s the collective behavior and norms.
Collective behavior and norms – We are the culture!
These two facts offer some insight as to why cultural change takes time and can be difficult. We need to communicate often and accurately, asking everyone to reflect, compare and segregate the then from the now. This can be difficult. Changing the behavior of a group can also be complex and intricate.
Trust is an important part of a culture. Empowerment, enabling, inclusion all buzz words in cultural improvement texts are all built on trust.
Change is an important part of a culture. Adapting, adjusting, shrink/grow, sustaining all catch phrases in change management texts; are all built on trust.
Trust is earned. We earn trust in the community, in our culture by communicating, the good and the bad; real-time discussions of issues, not personalities and a common vision of the preferred future.
Inside Mr. Kruger’s lab I learned many valuable lessons. I learned about the product, his Team, his challenges; I was not his only customer.
We learned to trust each other. We worked openly without reservation to address the issues. We learned that our releases and communications were contributing to Mr Kruger’s challenges.
It was remarkable how his Team interacted and helped create plans to mutually address the issues. Hans and I eventually became friends. He loves gardens and to walk in the Bavarian woods; hunting for wild mushrooms. Once he told me, “Teams are like gardens. It takes time, a little effort and commitment. Teams need to cultivate each others strengths, appreciate each others differences and always celebrate success.”
Hans likes to remind his Team, his garden, “if you want it to grow – pour a little wine on it!”
Remember all the runners in the race compete, only one wins-Run to Win.