How to change your team culture

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One of the topics we get asked about most often is how to change the culture on a team. We are rarely in a position to start building a culture from scratch, and are often trying to adjust our team culture to fit a new strategy or a changing business environment. Once you’ve determined how you want to evolve your team culture here are 3 critical factors for your success:

  1. Expect change to be incremental — The values that make up a culture, and the behaviors associated with them are relatively stable over time within an individual. Your team is not going to change overnight.
  2. Hire wisely — Hiring is one of the best ways to migrate your team towards a new culture, but you can’t simply hire a couple people who are extremely different from your current culture. They will likely fail to integrate with your existing team, and are more likely to turnover. Instead hire people who are a good fit for the team but are incrementally over-weighted towards behaviors and values you want in the new culture.
  3. Leadership, rewards, and recognition structures must also change — Leaders often overlook how they manage their own behavior during a shift in culture, but some of the strongest signals you can send about a new culture are from leadership. Similarly, rewards and recognition programs for employees should change to incent new behaviors and de-emphasize legacy values.

There is no magic bullet when it comes to evolving your culture, and there is no way to make the process painless. The goal is simply to make it successful.

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