Culture is often difficult for people to articulate; however, all organisations develop their own culture. Your culture can have both positive and negative effects on your business. The culture of your business is an accumulation of knowledge, experience, values, meaning, hierarchies, roles and beliefs. It tends to show itself in terms of behaviours, especially associated with Leadership roles.
Dynamic businesses recognise that breaking down silos, enabling employees and finding new ways of working means you need to develop an agile, problem solving and engaging change culture. This means developing Leaders as opposed to just managers. Developing a ‘can do’ cross-functional approach to issues and concerns.
Culture and Business Improvement are deemed as inherently linked and Sim and Change (2012), state that a company must undergo cultural change before business improvement can take place. However, they fail to talk about the gains that can be had from cultural change alone. These gains can include increase efficiencies, greater customer focus, new ways of achieving objectives and better problem-solving. For successful cultural change that supports the implementation of Business Improvement, a company should follow the seven steps of a transformational enterprise (Nightingale & Srinivasan, 2011).
The seven steps of transformational enterprise:
1. A company should hold a holistic view of cultural change.
2. Leaders at all levels should commit to the change, including cultural and Lean Production.
3. Consideration should be given to the impact the cultural change will have on the value proposition of all stakeholders at all levels.
4. The overall effectiveness of the organisation should be given priority before the need for efficiency gains.
5. The interdependent nature of both internal and external elements should be considered e.g. suppliers.
6. Focus should be placed on stability and flow within the organisation.
7. A final suggestion is the development of an organisational learning culture.
There is a lot of talk about the difference between a leader and a manager, however, there are times when we all need to lead and times when we need to manage. As managing tends to be about systems and processes we tend to find managing relatively easy, but leadership less so. This is because we have all experienced good managers or managers who get things done, but we have not always experienced good leadership.
The traditional model of managing is directing and controlling of reports, where a leader influences and motivates employees. Leadership tends to create a culture where ownership sits at the level of the direct reports and creates a ‘can do’ culture.
This traditional management model tends to be risk-averse and task orientated, with results being the mark of success. These types of managers tend to be dictatorial, transactional and autocratic by nature. Having several managers working in this manner often leads to confrontation, as they can focusing on the success of the silo and not necessarily for the overall good. Leaders tend to be more transformational by nature and will take more calculated risks than managers. They motivate their followers to be creative and cooperative in their day-to-day, realising that true change can only come about through group action.
Ensuring that your management team knows how to lead and when to lead is one of the most important things you can achieve if you want a truly agile, flexible and engaged workforce.
Let’s be honest, few successful cross-functional teams have ever been developed from spending a day in a forest firing paintballs at one another.
Games are good for getting teams to explore cooperation but, like motivational speakers, the effects produced are often short-lived. Getting good cross-functional teams requires exploring how your teams currently work, what is good and bad about current practices.
Teams should build their 'own' frameworks that enable them to operate effectively together. Barriers need to be broken down in terms of communication and new terms of engagement need to be designed. Accountability needs to be built into the heart of a good team, agreed to by all and mechanisms built that allows it to happen. This requires a series of workshops and not just a one-off event.
Sometimes it may be worth reviewing the organisational structure and develop a model that encourages teamwork. At Leziate we understand this and can help your business develop truly cross-functional teams.
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Business Improvement Training
It is generally recognised that people will learn better and be more willing to apply their new knowledge if they understand the bigger picture. Good training companies recognise this and use experiential training.
This simulates the concepts and tools in a more realistic format and helps develop a better understanding. We have taken this to the next level and use experiential training, but we are also pioneers in the use of gamification techniques in Business Improvement training. Gamification takes the subject's being trained and encases them in game-playing principles. This makes training more engaging and fun and sees greater understanding and uptake of principles and concepts.
We have used gamification to simulate entire value streams and worked with teams to improve them. This led to an enthusiasm for change that became infective across the company. Attempts at change had been tackled many times before but to no avail. After our training intervention, new methods of work were adopted quickly across the site.
We can train in the following:
- Kaizen/Continuous Improvement;
- 5S/Workplace Organisation;
- Value Stream Mapping;
- FMEA/Risk Assessment;
- Statistical Process Control;