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Cultural management

Managers (and people generally) don't think enough about and thereby don't understand existing cultures very well. When confronted with the need to improve an enterprise's performance, managers usually resort to change management, and thereby start off in the wrong direction. They are like a hiker starting on the wrong foot in the wrong direction, they keep walking in the wrong direction until they are so far away from the goal that they either continue to the wrong end or give up when they are lost. If you don't know where you are, then looking at a map won't help.

See Set Goals in the STARS personal theme for how to reconsider this goal setting.

Avoid Change Management!

Change management usually makes the wrong assumption that something needs to be changed about people and the enterprise culture.I recommend avoiding change management because it manifestly doesn't work.

Cultural management as opposed to change management first looks at the existing culture to determine if this culture can achieve the desired goals. It uses socio-cultural survey to uderstand the existing culture and how to leverage it to best effect.

Is the problem associated with the goal complex? Then consider the use of complexity science before trying to tackle issues in inappropriate ways, e.g. Lean is useless for handling complex domain issues and just tramples over the people with the requisite knowledge, disenfranchising them. That results in an even worse outcome.

Is the existing culture able to improve without changing the cultural values and norms? Then it is a matter of communication and collaboration with the people who are part of the culture to work out how to improve. See STARS improvement theme. Look at the required knowledge and who has it.

If the issues are wide ranging, then you need to engage a wide variety of people within the enterprise in order to work through the issues. The solution may require just one team to solve it, see Agile team methods. The solution may require many teams to solve it, see symphonic collaboration.

Any improvement, whether continual and gradual (see why continuous improvement is a myth and PDCA the wrong metaphor) or it is innovative or even disruptive, requires engagement with other people. Any other change is usually ineffective in the long term, because there will be a lack of agreement or buy-in by the other people.

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