by Patrick Ibarra, The Mejorando Group

Successful and high-performing government organizations are purpose driven, performance focused, and principle led. These same organizations, however, are often encouraged to institutionalize leading practices, freeze them into place, focus on execution, stick to their knitting, increase predictability, and get processes under control.

Today, governments face a radically shifting context for the workforce, the workplace, and the world of work. To move forward toward better government, leaders must be catalysts for change and recognize that “doing things differently and doing different things” are prerequisites for creating a climate that can penetrate a risk-averse culture that limits innovative thinking.

Organizational change involves moving from the known to the unknown. The question is change to what? Employees invariably have expectations about the results of organizational change. These expectations play an important role in generating motivation for change. Expectations can serve as a self-fulfilling prophecy, leading employees to invest energy in change programs that they expect will succeed.

When employees expect success, they are likely to develop greater commitment to the change process and to direct more energy into the constructive behaviors needed to implement it. The key to achieving these positive effects is to communicate realistic, positive expectations about the organizational changes. Information about why the change is occurring, how it will benefit the department, and how employees will be involved in the design and implementation is most helpful.

Critical culture change must not be perceived by employees as another in a series of fads or “management by best seller” as in a flavor of the month. Often employees are skeptical of these “just add water” fixes to the workplace. Failed attempts to change, unfortunately, often produce cynicism, frustration, loss of trust, and deterioration in morale among organization members. Employees must also understand that culture change is not only essential for the organization to adapt to new realities but also that it will help them and their fellow employees perform their roles better and derive greater job satisfaction.

Before attempting any kind of culture change initiative, the organization’s leaders need to know what the prevailing culture is and how it works, what type or preferred culture would best support organizational strategy, recognize and use the levers that influence culture, and be clear about whether they want to change the culture. On August 16, join the Mejorando Group for the webinar Transforming Your Culture: From Status Quo to Status Go and prepare to evaluate your organization's readiness for change and to help transition or transform your workplace culture.    

The Mejorando Group has a proven track record of success stories in the journey to help its clients and their members get better all the time, including resetting organizational values, coalescing leadership and management teams, facilitating strategic planning to sharpen focus, improving work processes toward a stronger focus on innovation, fortifying talent management and succession planning practices, and creating expectations that each employee is responsible for modeling the chief example officer (CEO) approach to his and her role.

Related Resources:

  • 5 Principles for Successful High-Performing Local Government. Good organizations perform. Great organizations perform at a higher level, where people are seen as wantingeven needingto do a good job, and they are motivated through challenging work that they are eventually recognized for. Their projects tend to be team-based and the outputs often excellent. 
  • OMG: Office Management Guide. There are four keys to maintaining a successful organization. Some require more immediate attention and others must remain top of mind all of the time.
  • Crafting a Healthy Workplace Culture. While a healthy workplace culture does not guarantee high performance, it's almost impossible to achieve without it.


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