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Seven Steps to Improving Your Department’s Culture


Do you want to change the way your team does business?


There are many philosophies out there on corporate culture.  Some say that it needs to be cultivated over time, but there are ways you can influence your corporate culture by leading change.  Culture is perceived.  That means that if you change perception, you can change culture.  Here are seven steps to improving your department’s culture.


Step One:  Define how your department is currently perceived internally (by each member of your department), by other departments in your company, by individuals who work with you, or by customers that interact with you.


Step Two:  Identify the differences in perception researched in step one.  There are two things that represent your culture.

1)   The fact that there are differing opinions about what your department does.

2)   The fact that individuals within your department have different perspectives on what they should be doing.


Step Three: Clearly define, as a team, what others should expect from your department.  What is your mission, your departmental charter, what services do you provide, what level of performance can be expected.   You may need to document some things that you don’t do in order to clarify expectations.  Make sure you can define where people should go for things your department will not be doing anymore.


Step Four:  Train your department on what you came up with in step three.  Make sure they are on the same page and properly trained to preform uniformly. 


Step Five: Train other departments in your company and/or your customers on what to expect from your department.  Share your mission, charter, services and expectations.


Step Six: Make your mission, charter, services and expectations a visual living document.  Create posters for the walls in your department, in the conference room, or wherever you can to make it clear to everyone.


Step Seven: Measure your success based on living up to your new defined expectations.  There should be no question as to what is expected.  Use it as a tool to develop and to discipline employees.  If someone does not live up to these new expectations, retrain them, focus them, or remove them.


Most corporate cultures are defined by chaos.  By weeding through the chaos and defining expectations, training to achieve those expectations and measuring your performance based on those expectations, you will not only be able to influence improvement, but achieve a measurable change in your department’s culture…hopefully setting the example for other areas of your company to follow suit.


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Written by Lisa WoodsPresident ManagingAmericans.com

Lisa is a successful entrepreneur, world-class marketing strategist, and dynamic business leader with more than 20 years experience leading, managing and driving growth. Throughout her career, Lisa has been influential in integration techniques, organizational and cultural overhauls, financial turnarounds and developing employees into exceptional leaders, results driven managers and passionate team contributors.


Do you have a question for Lisa?  Post it in our Executive Leadership Community, she will be happy to help: Ask an Expert


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