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Change habits – Transform Culture rapidly


View our video click here –  Change habits – Transform culture rapidly

There is a really cool statement that commentators use “culture eats strategy for breakfast”

The reason I think it is so cool is that it get us thinking more about people than about process. It gets us thinking more about the decisions we make and the impacts they will have, rather than the measures and targets.

Culture is a really interesting topic…it is the solution to nearly every leadership issue I get to discuss with clients. However it is also most regularly the problem that underpins nearly every performance issue I discuss.

It is a complex topic that is very difficult to nail down. It has many moving parts; culture change programs are often very difficult to implement in a tailored manner, and most solutions are measured over years rather than months or days.

As we close in on Christmas it is a great time to sit back and think about this statement. But this time I would like to add a third piece to the statement. I would like us to think for a moment. What creates culture? It is our collective routines, or our habits.

Given that the festive season prompts us to think about our habits most often, eating, drinking and recreation, it is timely for us to spend some time reflecting on the year and thinking about the habits we have at work and how they are impacting (good or bad) the team, our colleagues and our customers.

For example, emails are getting some press at the moment…as they should. In our recent work-aid research series we found that 50% of emails sent were considered unnecessary. We also found that people on average were spending on 3 hours a day on email.

Habits are often seen as difficult to change….I can relate to that…however when they do change the change is rapid. Interestingly we change our habit such as not sending unproductive emails. You will have found an extra 1.5 hours a day for important work, you have not had to change any policy, you have not had to restructure a team, you have not had to develop a new product, and you have not had to role out a change program. All we have had to do is make a wise decision and instantly culture starts to reshape.

So when I hear the statement “culture eats strategy” I find it very useful to reframe it to habits drive culture, culture drives action, strategy focuses action.

Creating a culture to achieve a strategic goal is what we want. Getting individuals to believe in their capability and change simple habits will get us there.


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