explore organisational culture

Podcast 83 – Exploring Organisational Culture – A Primer for Project Managers

Podcast 83 – Exploring Organisational Culture – A Primer for Project Managers

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Let’s explore organisational culture with Claire Walton

In this podcast,I speak with Claire Walton from UK-based organisational change firm ‘Leaders Are Making A Difference’ about organisational culture tips and tools for project managers. Let’s explore organisational culture.

Claire is an organisational architect and coach with an Executive Director background of many years in diverse sectors now working with a diverse range of clients with one thing in common – an ambition to make A difference.

‘Leaders are Making a Difference’ enable clients to align everyone with the organisation’s purpose, facilitating the removal of barriers and the introduction of enablers to improve performance. Together with the executive and leadership team we create a blueprint for the organisation that systematically connects everything back to the purpose including the behaviour of the leaders.

Points raised in this podcast:

  • Many organisations are across various locations and even globally, so in these cases organisations should use a robust process to transform culture including a culture web.
  • Culture webs help you define a culture by looking at a number of elements by way the organisation operates.
  • Lead and culture assessment tools work can be used with a consultant or you can use someone from your own organisation to act as an internal consultant to roll out this tool.
  • Purpose provides an opportunity to create strategic focus as well as informing people when making the small decisions all employees face several times a day.
  • Get organisational tools to take part in organisational tools and focus on project outcome and how you can achieve them. Engage stakeholders and present the gaps so organisational change is evident.
  • Focusing on culture doesn’t take a great deal of time when considering the overall cost/size of a project, a critical time to reflect on the culture of an organisation is during the investment/planning stage of a project.
  • Within the investment phase, allow yourself between 6 and 9 weeks to create an ideal culture with your stakeholders. Include anyone who is involved and impacted by the project, as part of the analysis. This guide accounts for time from key stakeholders, everyone who will complete a culture inventory and internal/external consultants.
  • By bringing in the world culture to the project managers language we are raising the profile of the importance of this knowledge. At the very least, culture should be an agenda item in all project management meetings. Have it on your radar in all elements of the project – particularly the culture gap and how the project is progressing.
  • Once you have an understanding of the culture of an organisation, they can use this knowledge to optimise the information in the project plan. The culture will affect the way in which you will tackle the project itself. If there are elements of the culture that are likely to work against the project, these will need to be fixed to ensure the project is completed as required.
  • Individual silos can affect culture and team dynamics can be an issue in a project’s culture, new systems can cause great issues and identifying issues such as this in a project is essential for a successful implementation.
  • Resistance to projects is normal and it can affect success, understanding the culture in an organisation is essential. 70 to 80% of projects fail to delivery the business plan often due to issues with culture.
  • Organisations need to be much clearer about the purpose of their collaboration; there should be a clear vision of the outcomes of the outcomes that need to be achieved.
  • The best way to influence the people around you to act differently is to hold the mirror up to yourself. If you are asking people to collaborate on elements of your project, all project managers should ensure they are very clear on what they need done, who needs to be collaborating — always ensure you have the discipline that you are trying to ask your team to have for your project
  • Factor your investment and show the right amount of time is allocated in the initiation phase of the project. Make sure your project sponsor is aware of the criticality of the project and the benefits of the project.
  • Focus on the culture implications when in the initiation phase of the project.
  • You can’t change a culture overnight and a culture is always evolving, a lot of money and time can be invested in culture however after the implementation is complete, it is essential that there is someone who is maintaining the culture and benefits of the project.
  • If you are working in a large organisation or a small department within an organisation, find out what is happening in the organisation in regards to culture development. If there is you can align your culture change activity to this existing process.
  • Don’t be afraid to use the word ‘culture’ – speak with stakeholder and your team about all things culture.

Check out Claire’s company website for more information on culture and what project managers should know about creating & managing organisational culture that flows through to successful project implementations.

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