Managing Cultural Change


When management acts to focus explicit structures, work design, staffing and development, and performance system/rewards on desired changes, the combined impact can be tremendous. Through management action, the culture can be changed to support the business strategy. Management communication of the company mission, vision, values, and strategic objectives is only the first step in the process.

Top executives must promulgate a vision; however, a brilliant vision statement won’t budge a culture unless it is backed up by action. The management system has to be put in place, and then management has to live by it. Culture is not something managers set out to change directly; rather, it is an outcome of consistent, positive management action, every day and in every way. Too often good strategic ideas and directions are translated too narrowly into plans. There are many examples, including quality of work life, participative management, quality circles, and service excellence. Even broadly conceived total quality management efforts risk faltering because they are being implemented as programs, rather than as broad, deep, multi-faceted activities.

The problem is not the association of an idea, with a program, but rather the existence of too few programs expressing the idea. Changes take hold when they are reflected in multiple concrete manifestations throughout the organization. It is when the structures surrounding a change also change to support it that we say a change is institutionalized—that it is now part of legitimate and ongoing practice, infused with value and supported by other aspects of the system.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Nodding Acquaintance with Creativity


Creativity is the set of attitudes, abilities, and mental processes that increase the probability of hitting upon solutions that seem to the well informed both novel and appropriate. Thus, whether the outcome of an effort is going to be creative or not is likely to depend upon the personality and attitudes of the person involved, certain distinctive mental abilities that go beyond just IQ, and certain problem solving processes in which what is called convergent thinking is nicely balanced by what is known as divergent or lateral thinking.

 The essence of what we consider creative is the element of freshness, originality, and novelty that is also appropriate to the context. If a manager gives dictation standing on his head, it could be considered novel, but hardly appropriate. Feeding effeminate men rhino horn may be a novel way of infusing virility but there is no evidence that it works. Meditating for 20 minutes a is also a creative act for the manager, for it is known to raise creative ideas to consciousness. It is difficult to satisfy the two relatively contrary properties, namely, that the act must be novel and must be reasonably appropriate to the context. It is easy to think up novel ideas and it is easy to use solutions that have worked in the past. What is difficult is to find solutions that are novel and also effective.

 My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight