In the past decade, an increasing number of companies have attempted to make significant changes in the way they manage their businesses. In a world where rapid change has become the norm, a variety of forces have driven organisations to alter their structures and practices and often to tackle the monumental task of changing their culture.
The decision to make fundamental changes in the organisation is frequently a response to a need to adapt to powerful external or internal change triggers. These include the rapid pace of technology and innovation, more aggressive competition, fundamental changes in industries and markets, deregulation, a more diverse workforce, increased organisational complexity, mergers and acquisitions, and escalating customer expectations.
In addition, globalisation has created economic interdependence and has opened up new markets, new competition and new opportunities. It has also created new threats. Organisations have therefore been forced to make dramatic responses in order to survive.
Evolutionary theory applies
Like other organisms, organisations need to adapt to their environment or they’ll become extinct. Darwin’s evolutionary theory applies to the evolution of all species, including business organisations. According to Darwin, “It is not necessarily the strongest or the most intelligent who survive, but those that can adapt and change.”
The changes required differ in degree and scope, ranging from incremental adjustments to major transformations. Incremental changes occur within the context of existing organisational structures, systems and practices. Transformations require fundamental changes and realignments in order to put the organisation and culture in sync with new realities and a new strategy.
Changes in structure and practices are relatively easy to accomplish. Changes in culture are far more difficult and complex. This article outlines a systematic process that an organisation can utilise to make major changes in its culture.
Understand the forces that will influence your future strategy
Review the internal and external forces that are impacting your business. Then ask yourself if any of these forces necessitate changes in the organisation’s strategy. Finally, assess the degree and scope of the adaptations that will be required.
Sign up to our newsletter
– to stay up to date and gain access to regular bulletins, news and our insight on current events
IN OUR LATEST NEWSLETTER
“How to assess and maximise the value of your business”
– our September White Paper details the three stages
“Creating a USP to maintain competitive advantage”
– this month’s featured case study
“An 11-step approach to changing culture”
– our September Snapshot takes you through a systematic process
“A 13-point recovery plan for difficult times”
– a potentially timely guide in our featured video
“HR matters in the spotlight: parental pay and atypical working”
– useful update from guest author Lance Hobbs