Change Management In Your Construction Business – Part 4

Part #4: The Role of CULTURE in Change

In part 4 of this 5-part series, we’re looking at the role culture plays when a business is undertaking the change scenario we’ve suggested here of new software integration into your construction business.

Organisational culture has traditionally held a reputation for being one of the ‘soft’ components of management’s hierarchy of responsibilities. Sadly, this reputation places culture at a far lower rung of importance, than it deserves. And as such, poorly managed or executed culture results in a business which is not as successful as it could or should be. It’s that simple.

You see, culture is VITAL to an organisation’s success. But only when that culture is authentic. And transparent. And when the culture fits with the industry and the competitive landscape in which the organisation sits. Culture has so often taken a back seat, this is especially so in the very male-dominated world of the construction industry. Seen as a ‘soft’ HR issue, and often as a ‘nice to have culture’s role must instead, be ubiquitous.

So when undertaking a significant change project like software integration, the mindset for change must be squarely focused on the culture of the organisation: whether that culture is strategic, whether it’s haphazard, whether it’s bad, great or indifferent.

A clever way to ascertain your organisation’s AND your people’s appetite for change, prior to a project launch like software integration, is to engage them directly. Undertake group discussions (by team), online surveys (anonymous surveys are very powerful), and ask their opinion. Take people’s feedback on board: listen to them. By engaging people at the start of the project, they’re already on the journey. There’s no turning back.

This approach, even if your company culture is not traditionally one of inclusion, will set your project on the right course.

Be mindful that during this process, your job isn’t to try to CHANGE the culture of your organisation. Not now. If the business culture isn’t open and amenable to this forthcoming change, trying to fix the culture now will only set your project back. Simply go with the culture as it stands today. It’s better at this stage to try to change people’s attitude & behaviours, than the overall culture.

Another factor to consider here is that culture can be a great enabler during the change management process. In our scenario of organisation-wide software implementation -the opportunity for a better life at work, for an easier way of doing things, for an upgrade in processes & technology can actually set the course for a positive impact on organisational culture. So if you can tap into the positives of the change, and the emotional benefits this change will provide, your change project is going to be far more successful in the long-term. The key here, is to harness the positive cultural attributes of the organisation (and there will be some) so you can spark momentum for sustainable change.

Where possible, a ‘culture-led’ approach to change management, has proven to achieve the greatest change management success. So tapping into the key parties within the business, who you know affect culture, is a smart move.

The great thing about a project like software implementation is that it can have a long-lasting, positive effect on culture. Managed right, engaging the right people in a timely and consistent fashion will achieve multiple wins for your project, and for your business overall.

In the next and final part, we’ll explore the role timing plays when a business is undertaking significant change. To Part 5 (The Role Timing in Change).

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