Published September 3, 2007

Changing Corporate Culture for Business Success

If you are a small business owner, no doubt at some point you have worked for someone else. Ask yourself- how many times have you observed that the corporate culture of the company in which you worked was not conducive to success?

Corporate culture can and should be changed if necessary - although this requires strong leadership skills and painstaking effort.

Corporate Culture Models: Lasting changes can be integrated into the culture of the organization using either of the two models of corporate culture. The first type is a diagrammatic representation of the corporate culture in a geometric form of a polygon, which focuses on each element of the corporate culture like "achievement." The other type is more of a descriptive or textual description, defining the elements of the culture in simple words. Both of them have their own advantages and drawbacks, so depending on your needs and requirements, choose the one that suits you the most.

The Pros and Cons: Although the former model is very helpful in giving a brief idea, and a great help in remembering the different elements of the culture since it is a diagrammatic representation, the drawback of this type of model is that it does not provide you with the relevant and necessary details. In order to implement the required cultural changes, it is important to focus on the details. Very often, it requires an experienced consultant to interpret the picture based on the model and devise ways to bring about the required changes. The cultural web model or the theory of planned behavior is a fine example of this type of model.

The cultural web model comprises of six main elements of the corporate culture like power structure, organizational structure, rituals and routines, symbols, control systems, and myths and stories. This model is very useful since it can be used for developing a plan to change not merely individual constituent elements but a combination of them. It is also easy enough for the employees to comprehend it by themselves and perform their own analysis.

Implementing Changes: You can implement changes in the existing corporate culture, but for that you need to set realistic goals for the company and define ways to achieve these goals. You need to find ways at every level that will enable you to achieve both long and short term goals. Distribute tasks into teams so that combined efforts will make it possible to achieve them faster.

Accountability of management in fulfilling their responsibility towards the achievement of goals and eliminating business proposals that did not contribute effectively towards the achievement of goals is also important. Focusing on mistakes and the reasons behind unsatisfactory results, training and promotion are other factors that contribute towards the achievement of the goal.

The best part about using such models of corporate culture is that it requires very little professional help from consultants since it can easily be interpreted by the people working in the organization.