Dec 12 2013
“The conventional wisdom is that it takes years to change a culture, defined as the assumed beliefs and norms that govern ‘the way we do things around here.’ And few organizations explicitly use culture as a way to drive business performance, or even believe it could make sense to do so.The logic usually works the other way — make specific changes in processes, and then hope that, gradually, the culture will change.
Yet some leading organizations are turning this conventional wisdom on its head. Consider Trane, the $8 billion subsidiary of Ingersoll Rand that provides heating, ventilating, air conditioning and building management systems. By focusing first on changing their culture, Trane has been driving results — and quickly.”
The article is supposed to be about any business organization, but the example presented is only about sales offices.
What do sales offices do? They communicate and negotiate with prospects to turn them into customers. They nurture relationships; attitude and teamwork are key to success at it. In sales, working on the “targeted behaviors of associates” is working on the process.
Manufacturing is a different. It is about production, not persuasion, and I don’t know of any successful change in manufacturing that would have been driven at the cultural level. When attempted, it quickly degenerates into the kind of exhortation and sloganeering that Deming denounced so vehemently.
I don’t know any manufacturing people who would be swayed by it. Instead, they need tangible, physical changes to the way work is being done, implemented with their input and diligently. Only the experience of improvement will change their perception of the work and the organization. Talk therapy won’t.
See on blogs.hbr.org