How To Get Executive Buy-in For Organisational Culture Change

Unsurprisingly, one of the most asked questions at our recent 2022 Culture and Leadership Conference was “How do I get buy-in from my Chief Executive (or senior executives) to commit to and even lead culture change?”

Most people have heard the oft quoted line that 70% of change initiatives fail, so it’s no wonder then that CEOs are reluctant to commit given the odds do not seem favourable!

This then begs the question; how can you get a reluctant executive across the line? As always there’s no guarantee but a few basic pointers to bear in mind.

    Culture is defined as the shared values, assumptions, and behavioural norms that exist throughout the organisation – they are the ‘unwritten rules’ about how things get done. These norms are developed over time by the expectations created by leadership styles and organisational systems, structures, and communication processes.

    Culture is not engagement, nor is it about jazzy offices and foosball tables in the staff café, even though this may be how your sceptical executive sees it.Much of the media today around culture focuses on one aspect of culture – the ‘people’ side of culture such as employee engagement, ‘toxic’ cultures and the like.But this fails to address an equally important role of culture; that of adaptability. Not only does culture impact how people feel about being part of an organisation, it also determines how effectively the organisation adapts to changes in its external environment. This has been brought to the fore by the COVID pandemic where adaptation is a daily challenge from people, supply chains, economic and customer/market perspectives.

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