September 28

Blending Cultures to Drive Business Development Results: Part 3

By Chuck Coker

Corporate management, through the direction of their HR professionals, can facilitate and achieve cultural agreement. Their combined efforts can help in the facilitation of any culture merger. Each group can find common ground and have a positive experience by following these steps for blending business cultures.

  • Assess the CEO’s perspective of the company’s principles, policies, and procedures. Use an empirical tool (as well as common sense) to measure what he or she has established. Address any sensitive or problem areas to ensure the spirit of the law is being communicated effectively. Make sure that the measurement process identifies central core behavioral, attitudinal, and value issues as well as their impact on the employees.

  • Use the same empirical measure with staff and management to isolate their perspectives. Staff members should define the reasoning on which they believe the guidelines are based. Note any unclear areas for future discussions. Their perspectives on behavior, attitudes, and values will also be critical.

  • Compare and contrast what you learn from the differing groups. There will be obvious discrepancies in thought as you move from the CEO to the staff. Define the differences and describe how these differences may affect the workforce. Many times the CEO is charismatic and people will be drawn to him or her. However, this does not mean that his or her principles, policies, and procedures will be widely accepted. Sometimes these very things drive employees away from the company.

  • Sample the workforce. Be sure the sample is indicative of the group as a whole, as well as each individual department or merged group. Make sure that the entire workforce understands they are participating in a culture development process and their opinions are valued. Have a sample or representative group solicit input from everyone, and present it at the appropriate time.

  • Take the results of each of the individual departments or merged cultures and compare and contrast them. Have each department select representatives that are comfortable with and willing to present their perspective of the results. The empirical results will need to be visually and objectively presented to the group so they understand how close or divergent their views are. Individual groups should note the similarities and divergences of views and be willing to work together to find the correct vision, etc., that is acceptable to all parties.

  • After the staff and management team have reviewed their results, they should meet with the employee representatives, exchange their merged concepts and finalize recommendations for the executive committee. Ask for input and build trust; creativity will flow. Human Resources should facilitate this process to ensure there is a balanced approach that provides congruency, rather than adversity.

  • Redefine existing principles, policies, procedures, all vision, mission, objectives and other cultural related concepts to conform to the executive (or his appointed committee) desire for a positive performance-based approach. The CEO may have some final tweaks in some areas, but multiple sources of input from employees with different behavioral types will provide a greater opportunity to benefit the company as a whole. Once the finalized concepts are developed, the committees should be reconvened and be tasked with finding their individual departmental objectives and how they will enhance the completion of the corporate goals. This will alleviate any confusion employees may have and provide a clear explanation of the outcome expected. It will also provide each department with an opportunity to identify their specific role in the profitability of the company.

Now, share the results with the company in meetings, bulletins, and corporate newsletters. Use this as a public relations opportunity. Make the most of the employee-driven culture concept. Most employees will embrace ideas and concepts they have played a role in assembling. The new revitalized corporate culture and philosophy, as well as the employees, will be prepared to meet any new change on the horizon. Additionally, they are mentally prepared for growth, due to higher morale, creating conditions perfect for performance enhancement and profitability.

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About the author 

Chuck Coker

For more than 30 years, Chuck has focused his career on people's development. He has implemented proprietary Personal Formation, Human Capital, Talent Management, and incentive-based programs across a broad scope of Fortune Companies, regional organizations, and educational institutions.


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