Property/casualty insurers often talk about the need to transform their companies into a culture unafraid to embrace change that’s also able to develop new ideas beneficial for their peers and customers alike.
The thing is, an executive can’t simply order or mandate the change. Just as major changes in society often come from social movements, the same phenomenon can help change culture within a company. That’s according to a recent Harvard Business Review blog posting by Bryan Walker, a partner and managing director at IDEO San Francisco, and Sarah Soule, associate dean for Academic Affairs at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
The pair acknowledge that the leader of a company or enterprise can mandate change but warn to “do so sparingly” because “it’s easy to overuse one’s authority in the hopes of accelerating transformation.” On the flip side of this, leaders often shy away from conflict within a company with a focus instead on harmony, the blog posting noted.
For culture change to happen successfully by way of a movement, Walker and Soule say that some friction is a good thing because it can show which parts of the organization need specific changes for the transformation to succeed.
To enable a movement-based culture change at your organization, Walker and Soule say that small wins should be celebrated as signs of action. They also recommend that leaders build coalitions between groups that wouldn’t necessarily work together, in order to get them all focused on a common purpose. As well, they say that safe spaces in which strategy can be discussed are also a good thing, as are symbols that can help everyone feel united, such as a t-shirt or button focused on a singular cause.
For the full Harvard Business Review blog posting, click here.