One of my e-book readers has challenged me on Change Nugget # 9
Be the change you wish to see – Mahatma Gandhi.
Nothing stops a culture change quicker than a change leader not enacting the new behaviours. Is it time for a personal audit of values and behaviour
The workplace is not a democracy and there can be a class system in place. Can a change leader still implement culture change without enacting the behaviours? Does the CEO fly discount economy?
To the first point, I would agree most of the time. Most organisations do have a class system in place. Witness government departments who refer to people by their level – “we have two AO5s to consider there”. However, I would also argue that democracies are not immune to class systems.
Industrial democracy is a management principal that gained purchase as an alternative to Taylorism. You can certainly see elements of participatory management in most organisations. Maverick, the story behind Semco’s turnaround in the 80’s is a fabulous example of industrial democracy in action. Any organisation can be placed some-where on the continuum between Taylorism and Industrial Democracy.
But for some-one trying to bring in change – it really doesn’t matter. It’s kinda simple.
As my reader so rightly points out, a CEO’s actions are highly symbolic of the organisational culture. They will either tell you whether the organisation is flat and participatory or hierarchical and status driven. Regardless of what the culture is like , the change leader cannot lead change without enacting the behaviours. If the change is about a new financial policy designed to make all employees behave the same way, the CEO needs to be flying discount economy.
Where it gets difficult for change managers is when participative management and industrial democracy is seen as implementing a suggestion box and getting employees to make suggestions on what and how to change in the name of ‘bottom up change’. Tokenism creates far more resistance and damage via long lasting cynicism.