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Why Organizations Can’t Change Their Culture to Adopt New Technology

Is your organization resistant to change? Tell me one thing right now that has changed in the last 6 months? I’m sure there was something, but was it a major change in how your team works?

It Starts with You

While attending a conference last week, it became evident to me that both business and private sector organizations are struggling with change. And the biggest struggle may have to do with cultural change — meaning businesses can’t evolve because of internal, human resistance to normal business changes. Of course with technology introducing so much change over the last few years, it’s critically important that we develop procedures to allow us to manage it more successfully. Hugely successful companies such Kodak and Blackberry were innovative, but perhaps internal barriers to change negatively affected their capability to manage change imposed from the outside — an evolving technological landscape. Other organizations struggle in implementing new business systems or processes — internal business change driven by technology or regulation. In these cases is there just lack a process or is it a true philosophical commitment to growing the business where it needed to grow?

End the Struggle, Begin the Process

If you’re grappling with the issue of change, perhaps some new knowledge and techniques will help provide a fresh perspective and a new measure of confidence. This post explores organizational culture change — what creates it and what prevents it.

What is Company Culture?

The culture of a company is the habitual behavior of its people, their shared values, norms and language. Unfortunately, what can make a company so good at one point in time, can make it fail at another. It’s not poor marketing, lack of staff, or knowledge that’s the usual stopper — it’s company culture. And smart company managers are always aware of how important culture is. They have to be — they define it.

Some interesting stats From TLNT on a Booz/Allen Study:

  • 84% of respondents, and 86 percent of C-Suite respondents, believe that their organization’s culture is critical to business success.

  • 60% said culture is more important than the company’s strategy or operating model.

  • 96% said some form of culture change is needed within their organization.

Change Happens

Think about changes you’ve made in the past, such as adopting Microsoft Office software, using social media to respond to customers, or hiring someone new. Did you move to a bigger office? Did it work out? Some changes are so easy to make with such a nice payoff. So when we don’t make expected, positive changes, it must mean we expect negative outcomes. Would writing down negative expectations and then discussing them with a colleague, or an IT expert be helpful? Experiment with it and see what feedback you get. Let’s look at the difference between causes and symptoms in change resistance. In the 2nd part of this series we’ll examine ways in which you can improve your organization culture and motivators for affecting changes in culture.

Who is Resisting Change in your Company?

A big hurdle in the way of many businesses is about how to bring change in their organization, but there’s more — Resistance.

Two Main Sources of Resistance to Change

Both (1) management and (2) employees may resist change.

From Management:

  • Resists because of complexity

  • Lacks confidence

  • Insufficient training and implementation resources

  • Short term profit loss

  • Fear of not being able to manage the new work culture

  • Loss power and influence

From Employees:

  • Afraid of any change

  • Fear of job loss

  • Fear of disliking job

  • Misunderstanding: why, why, where, how, when

  • Confused work roles

  • Loss of secure routine

  • Don’t want more work

  • Unwilling to learn, too much change and work already

  • Management doesn’t know what they’re doing

  • Fear of negative changes with coworkers

If you tackle the emotional issues surrounding culture change, the business changes will likely begin to look a lot more doable. Next post, we’ll take a look at 6 Ways you can Improve your Company Culture. Software can actually help build a better internal culture of sharing and learning. Take a good look at SharePoint. It’s a reliable, secure, and extensible platform/architecture for the new enterprise. Collaboration and social media tools are vital and SharePoint ensures they will work in the security conscious enterprise environment.


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