Phil Livingstone
Phil Livingstone 27 June 2016

Maintaining the Culture in Your Team during Times of Change

In today’s fast-paced society, the difference between success and failure can lie in a company’s ability to adapt, reorganise and transform itself. The culture within the business is a key asset to managing that change. What can you do as a leader to maintain the culture within your team? Here’s 5 handy tips.

The most important thing about any company is its culture. Culture is everything. Anyone who says different is lying. Company culture is a fundamental element of a business and a driving force behind its success. Culture is many things but often reduced to just two elements; a strong sense of purpose and a clear set of shared values. If you don’t get the culture right, nothing else matters.

In order to keep pace, businesses need to continuously innovate and reinvent themselves. As companies grow or go through a period of change, they risk losing sight of these fundamental values and purpose.

Developing a great culture within a team isn’t down to the leader; but each and every member of the team. Everyone has a role to play and each person should practice the behaviours they desire and want to see in others. It is simply down to the way you think, act and interact both internally within the team and externally with others.

So when the business is going through change, how can a leader maintain the culture within the team? Here are five key steps for maintaining culture when leading a team through change:

  • Positivity
    It can sometimes but difficult when you don’t have all the answers but always remain positive. Maintaining a confident and positive attitude will help the team stay focused on their responsibilities. Re-affirm the strong spirit in the team and talk openly about what you can do to overcome any uncertainty. 
  • Vision  
    Keep looking forward to the end goal and remind people why change is necessary. The team and therefore business will be a better place at the end of the process.   
  • Communication

    When it comes to corporate change, communication can sometimes be too slow and often not complete leading to anxiety and restlessness amongst the team members. Rise above it because it’s critical to have all members of the team behind the team leaders. It comes down to mutual respect, for leaders, it is to share what information you know when you are able to. Answer any questions or seek answers from management if you don’t. For team members it’s about respecting the position (and predicament) of the team leader. Some information cannot be shared until it is appropriate to do so. 
  • Blowing off steam  

    Change is unsettling and can be frustrating to some. Respect this, talk to the team. Encourage them to be open and honest about how you are feeling. Situations can be aggravated and boil over. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It shows the team are passionate and care. Deal with it straight away and provide reassurance of the end goal.    
  • Shaping the new normal 

    Change brings transformation. It could be processes, tools, merging of teams or simply ways of working. It’s important to shape what is to become the new normal.  Remember to celebrate successes as a team and acknowledge great work publically. 

It goes without saying that building team spirit and culture is more than just motivation or inspiration. Trust your team but have their back if things get tough. Retaining these values gives a sense of identity that team members relate to and other teams aspire to have. Teams with great culture and identity can be great change agents for the rest of the business.

‘You know you’re on to something special with your company culture when employees see the company just as much as theirs and it’s yours’.

Above all, maintaining a confident and positive attitude will help the team stay focused on their responsibilities. Yes, it challenging and sometimes annoying because change in larger organisations can take time to develop, deploy and bed in but these things are made to test us right?

Good luck.

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