September 14, 2017
Forrester Analyst Sam Stern discusses the linkage between culture change and purpose — and how companies can overcome the challenges of culture transformation.
Sam Stern, Principal Analyst
Culture is fuel — it has the potential to harness the full power of human capital to deliver on a purpose and brand promise. Done well, it creates real and sustainable strategic advantage.
Some companies realize culture’s potential because they were born this way: inherently nimble with deep customer convictions, driven to disrupt, and unafraid of change.
Those not born this way have a different journey, a hard journey — and most fail to achieve the potential of culture. Why do so many culture transformations fail while few succeed? The reasons vary:
- Leaders lack conviction, and rank and file never get excited or on board.
- Culture is not one-size-fits-all, creating unplanned but real complexity.
- Most culture transformations take five years.
- Change is inherently hard, and at first blush, most see it as a negative journey.
- Culture shifts are started as defensive acts as opposed to offensive acts.
- Leaders don’t free up employee time to prioritize culture.
This list suggests that any culture-shifting program faces headwinds from the beginning. It’s not that culture efforts are predetermined to fail; it’s that culture transformations are hard, long, and complex journeys.
In this week’s episode, Sam Stern details the struggles of culture transformation and how leaders can overcome these challenges to improve customer and employee experience and create competitive advantage.