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Challenges to Cultural Change


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Challenges to Cultural Change, Velocity 2012. For more on the DICE framework, see "The Hard Side of Change Management" in HBR's 10 Must-Reads in Change Management.

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Challenges to Cultural Change

  1. 1. Challenges to Cultural ChangeMandi Wallsmandi@opscode.comVelocity 2012
  2. 2. whoamiMandi WallsSenior Technical Evangelist at
  3. 3. What is Culture? “Visible” aspects of culture: the arts: music, drama, literature, dance history and religion “Invisible” aspects of culture: kinship, gender roles, social rules, gestures decision making, work ethic
  4. 4. Where Does Culture Come From?National culture Deeply held valuesOrganizational Culture Differences in practices
  5. 5. National Culture: Geert Hofstede Power Distance Individualism vs collectivism Masculinity vs femininity Uncertainty avoidance Long term orientation Indulgence vs restraint
  6. 6. National Culture Example: the USA Power Distance: low Individuality: VERY high Masculinity: high Uncertainty Avoidance: low LTO: very low
  7. 7. Organizational Culture Means vs Goal Oriented Internally vs Externally Driven Easy-going vs Strict Work Discipline Local vs Professional Open vs Closed System Employee vs Work Oriented Degree of Acceptance of Leadership Style Identification with the Organization
  8. 8. Why Do We Care?
  9. 9. Columbia Disaster NASA’s “can-do” attitude Near-misses were successes, not near-failures Misplaced confidence in some systems Relaxing of the safety culture Reinterpretation of evidence Reorganizations focusing on efficiency Optimistic organizational thinking Resistance to the free exchange of information
  10. 10. Contrary Expectations Creating organizational culture that contains elements contrary to societal culture
  11. 11. Why Doesn’t Culture Change? Fear and Uncertainty Success Metrics Change is a process
  12. 12. How Can Culture Be Changed?Change the way people work, and they will end upchanging the way they think
  13. 13. Change Efforts that Fail “Hearts and minds” initiatives Isolated efforts vs visible champions Dealing with dissent
  14. 14. Techniques for Implementing CulturalChange Lots of methods Catchy acronyms Hard to research and decide
  15. 15. Setting Change Goals Establishing urgency Setting scope Presenting the value
  16. 16. An Example: DICE MethodCatchy acronym!Fortunately has some concrete tasksDoesn’t focus on setting the actual change goals
  17. 17. DICE: Duration How long between reviews? How long for the project to be completed? Taking stock of effects
  18. 18. DICE: Integrity Skills and personnel resources Competition for talent Prioritization Key players
  19. 19. DICE: CommitmentVisible support from influential peopleEnthusiasm for the new processesStraight talk
  20. 20. DICE: Effort Don’t forget the day jobs Limiting duplication of efforts Showing improvements
  21. 21. DICE SummaryD: checkpoint and keep an eye on thingsI: keep skill sets in mindC: make sure your message is always on pointE: don’t burn people out
  22. 22. People ProblemsDissentFunctional Fanaticism
  23. 23. Dissent Consensus takes time Change what people do, give them time to do it Reassigning or firing
  24. 24. Functional Fanaticism These are the folks who will freak out Their entire concept of their role and responsibilities is built around their processes
  25. 25. Forging New Paths Rewards Ownership Discussion
  26. 26. You Say You Want a Revolution Let’s say you go back to the office from Velocity You are excited about new methods to improve mobile performance You want your group to improve the performance of your company’s mobile app Your company culture isn’t focused on performance What do we need to do?
  27. 27. Goal: Improve Mobile Performance Be specific: “improve mobile site load time by 10% by Q4”
  28. 28. Establish the Value Customer focus User engagement User retention
  29. 29. Form Voltron
  30. 30. Form Voltron Front end engineering
  31. 31. Form Voltron Front end engineering Back end engineering
  32. 32. Form Voltron Front end engineering Back end engineering Operations
  33. 33. Form Voltron Front end engineering Back end engineering Operations Product Management
  34. 34. Form Voltron Front end engineering Back end engineering Operations Product Management Marketing
  35. 35. Start Your Engines Prioritize, move work around, make people available Set the schedule
  36. 36. Celebrate Improvements Dashboards and graphs Use those metrics Give the team a chance to evangelize
  37. 37. Conclusions Change is difficult Focus on changing what people do Keep an eye on the process Listen to feedback
  38. 38. Resources’s 10 Must-Reads on Change Management and various other blogs and articles, Harvard BusinessReview.