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Cultural Change Training

Our Cultural Change Training offers an effective, sustainable model for changing the culture of your organization to one of Customer-Centered Excellence.

​Many change leaders are tempted to pick a single issue that they believe stands between them and excellence, and then they work hard to fix it.  Doing so is a bit like the proverbial blind men who, when asked to describe an elephant, do so based on the part of the elephant they are holding.  For one who holds the tail, the elephant is like a rope. For one who holds the ear, it is a fan.  And so on.  Until each part of the elephant is related to the others, describing the full elephant will remain a mystery.  Likewise, to fully grasp the size and scope of cultural transformation we need to understand what its parts are, how they fit together, and how they work as an integrated system.  Our work is to help you see these relationships and use them to your advantage.

During our cultural change training, we use six main levers to strengthen or change our organizational culture:







Each of these levers represent key sources enabling or constraining excellence. All are capable of being double-edged swords. Each is a lever when consciously used to advance excellence. However, it can also be a constraint when we don’t recognize it as a source of ambiguity or conflict. Consider them as levers when we do something with them and as constraints when they do something to us. The challenge for a leader is to transform a constraint into a lever for transformation.

Our fast-paced, content-rich and new paradigm-forming our cultural change sessions are designed to enlighten, inspire, entertain and enable customer-centered transformation. Whether you select a keynote address, a strategic planning retreat, or an intensive skill-building workshop, these cultural change sessions provide participants with powerful, elegantly simple concepts they can immediately apply.  Every cultural change event is customized to fit your objectives and current initiatives.  Every subject is presented in a practical, jargon-free style and presented interactively with humor.  Attendees will be challenged, motivated and equipped to see your organization from outcomes and customers inward (rather than from internal processes outward).  Everyone will experience a new and refreshing way to prepare your organization for leading edge performance excellence.

Some of the discoveries you are likely to make, and be able to address, include these:

  • Strategic objectives, culture change initiatives, and measures often miss at least 3 of 8 criteria for sustainable excellence
  • Excellence is often constrained by the hidden ambiguity of language, measures, power, Vital Lies and other removable obstacles
  • There is no shared agreement about what “service” means and who “the customer” is, leading to avoidable confusion and conflict
  • Redefining all work as products turns intangible activity into concrete, measurable deliverables that are subject to design
  • The most important customers are not who you think they are
  • The voice of the customer is not the mind of the customer
  • In a knowledge and service environment, product cost is usually unknown, not managed but very expensive
  • Squishy customer expectations can be measured and satisfied by design
  • What you measure most is probably least important to customers, and vice versa

All cultural change programs enable you to achieve and sustain better alignment with customer priorities within a knowledge-intensive or service context. The unique principles supporting these cultural change programs are described in the Robin Lawton’s first best-selling book, Creating a Customer-Centered Culture: Leadership in Quality, Innovation and Speed. His latest 2017 book expands the depth and breadth of his work in Mastering Excellence: A Leader’s Guide to Aligning Strategy, Culture, Customer Experience & Measures of Success.  Using these concepts and tools, one organization won the Baldrige-based state quality award within only three years, earning better than a 20:1 return on their invested effort in the first year. Others have had comparable success. You can too!

Do These Obstacles Interfere With Your Success?

  • Activity-oriented culture change initiatives
    Moving the ball is often confused with winning the game. Customers’ desired outcomes may not be articulated or attached to measures of success. If not described in the strategic plan, successful execution is unlikely.  If pursuing excellence is the goal, you will never achieve it this way.
  • Measurement imbalance
    Big focus on what internal organizations care about, little focus on customers’ priorities. Measures of success are unknown or unused.  There are eight (8) areas of enterprise performance that should be present in every balanced scorecard. Rarely are they.
  • Initiative proliferation
    So much to do, people have forgotten what the goal is. New initiatives are perceived as replacing or adding to what is currently in place, not integrated as part of a coherent whole.  The C3 system pulls everything together in a unifying way that connects strategic direction to daily execution.
  • Survey dependence
    It can be shocking to learn how common it is to ask the wrong questions of the wrong people in the wrong way at the wrong time for the wrong reasons, but do it repeatedly so there is a trend. The questions customers answer may not be the ones they’d like to be asked. See the article Are Your Surveys Suitable for Wrapping Fish?  Great survey design is not normal but is possible and learnable.
  • Incremental vs. innovative
    Continuous improvement is considered good enough. In a slow moving world, it might still be. But our pace is accelerating and customers are not waiting for us to get with the times.  If the desired outcome is light, many alternatives are possible. Seeking to be a better candle maker will not result in creating light bulbs. Innovation often requires- and starts with- a radical rethinking of basic assumptions.  Having a clear way to uncover what those constraining assumptions are offers a first step toward huge forward potential.

Challenges Our Cultural Change Training Help You Address

Is your change initiative a success when processes are improved, costs are cut but customers notice no difference?  Initiatives such as ISO 9001, Lean, Six Sigma, CRM, Theory of Constraints and others have the intent to simultaneously address customer satisfaction and operational effectiveness. Unfortunately, the focus on internal process often gets the most attention. This doesn’t have to be so.  Give us a call to help you go where you’ve only dreamed before.

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