Author’s note: this is part of a long blog series on corporate culture. Feel free to look back on previous blogs to explore previous material on evaluating, changing and establishing your corporate culture within the business context.
So far, we have decided what we want our culture to be, we have converted that culture into a written and published set of corporate values, and we have included those values into all of our documented procedures and manuals.
Unfortunately, we have not actually changed our culture.
Step four is the part of changing corporate cultures that keeps most companies from ever making any realistic and long-lasting culture changes. This is where the work really begins and it will probably be work that most owners, bosses, and managers do not want to do. It is so easy sitting in your office to dictate instructions, pass our work orders and to direct the business of the company. But we are not talking about the business of the company, we are talking about the corporate culture and any and all changes in the culture must come from you.
As a representative of management, you need to exhibit and practice these values daily. You must show everyone how to live those values.
If your company has listed integrity as a corporate value, you need to find a way to display your own integrity. This can be done by going out of your way to keep even the smallest promises, by making sure everyone knows you understand confidentiality, and by treating everyone with outrageous respect. If your values are timeliness, you must be on time or early all the time. If your value is to be a problem-solving company, you must show that you are ready and willing to roll up your sleeves and solve even the smallest problems (that are yours to solve).
The burden of making culture changes rests entirely on your shoulders. It cannot be delegated.
Our biblical example has been Moses. He had the culture of two to three million rescued Israelite slaves to change. His values came from God and they were folded into his “policy manual” which became the first five books of the Bible. But he did not just rely what God told him. He lived it daily. He cared deeply for the Israelites and he was the recipient of their wrath when things did not go perfectly. He also made mistakes. But he knew that changing these people was his mission from God and that the end result of getting across the Jordan River to the Promised Land was worth it.
As business leaders, we are called to lead our employees. Changing your culture for the better will benefit your business, your employees and yourself. Keep in mind the end results and lead by example.