September 13, 2021

Shock & Awe, and maybe fear, into the company culture

Ever been working on a project, the sky is blue, breezes are light, the clouds are white & fluffy. Then unexpectedly, a thunder clap booms, rattling everything and everyone with the unexpected and pants filling thunderclap? Everyone jumps out of their chairs and some, on the way back to their desk, spill their coffee. Ever been there? Shock & awe?

Maybe that’s what your corporate culture actually needs, the proverbial shock & awe motivation. There are times when a change in culture, at any level, needs to be accomplished. If you hire new management, do you expect instantaneous transformation? Probably the answer is yes, but… unfortunately, there is no quick fix for changing the culture in your company. New managers can be brought in, having no clue of the issues, and failing miserably…and their job suddenly disappears due to inefficiency and ineffectiveness.

The main issue, which I’ve witnessed & experienced more than a dozen times in my career, with the shock & awe thunderclaps? Employees who will revolt at the very idea of changing that culture. Regrettably, it is also quite reasonable that the new manager can and will be sabotaged, by those who refuse to change, from front-line employees up to and including other managers & the C-Suite. Those people, no matter who, can be effective at blowing smoke at them…obfuscating the fact they are biding their time and resisting the changes.
“The inmates are running the asylum”.

Usually, it is senior management which normally puts the inordinate amount of pressure on the new manager to do with what they have and not make waves, or spend financial resources…although they brought them in to make those waves and changes.

It is simply a false show of good faith for upper management to the employees that they brought in a new manager for that dog & pony show. What the executives need is a booming shock & awe moment of their own, although they may be the issue, they’ll never admit it…straight up their wazoo.

I’ve been told by, at least, several dozen people that this approach simply won’t work in a large company…but I’m telling you that it will…no matter how many nay-sayers you have. Generally, it is the ones who say that who will be the most resistant to the changing of the culture.

Usually, it should start at a departmental or small branch level, so the process can be tweaked and revised, if necessary, which are the best places to begin the transformation …although some companies only give it lip service…which is why it fails so often. There are also times, when it’s the executives who need to have the transition to start with.
The Problems in Changing the Culture:

The culture in your company may be rotten, like a 5-day old dead skunk in the middle of the road, and you know it by an array of items that are occurring on a continual basis. A small sampling;
• Turnover of employees.
• Overtime is past manageable.
• Egregious mistakes made by…everyone and ignored by everyone as well.
• Reports are not professionally prepared, as best to be expected, and sometimes not even completed on-time, if at all.
• Attendance problems, which in turn leads to overtime and turnover, and the ever-growing specter of workplace violence.

More than likely, there is a host of other issues lurking just underneath these. Now you know what several of the symptoms of the problem are; now you have to find the original issue. And that is probably the hardest part of all. Because it can be detail oriented and time consuming for you to discover it.

You could possibly have to spend hours, days, weeks, or possibly even months to figure out the main issue that is causing the problems. To do this you should employ the method that I prefer, to talk to everyone and take careful notes of the 5 W’s & H of journalism and report writing. Who, what, when, where, why and how they say it, along with body language.

In these circumstances it’s should be the manager that needs to be the one asking questions and not an outsider. It doesn’t matter where the questions arise from, his own observations or accusations from others, just that the employer knows their people. If the manager is potentially the problem, then a consultant will be, unfortunately, mandatory, which of course can get very expensive if they are there for months.

Watch for the second part of this blog next week!

It happens to Anyone…Any Time…Any Where… For any Reason

I May Be Blind, but My Vision Is Crystal Clear

Permission to share? Of course, with full attribution.
Copyright 2021 Robert D. Sollars

Workplace Violence
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