with Alex Amsden, Tom Gaunt, and Mallory Meyer
About the show
The Fearless Thinkers podcast, hosted by Rick Cheatham and Masami Cookson, personalizes BTS’s perspective on the people side of strategy.
Fearless Thinkers is produced by Gloria Breck and Aron Towner.
Special thanks to Joe Holeman, Chris Goodnow, Meghan McGrath, and Roanne Neuwirth for their invaluable help.
“From the start, engage in optimal inclusion… Draw from a representative sample of your organization, or what we like to call a diagonal slice: [people from] across various business units, functions, tenure, roles, levels, geographies — you name it,” says Mallory Meyer, Culture Transformation Lead for BTS North America, in this episode of Fearless Thinkers. Mallory, Alex Amsden, Global Lead for Culture Transformation, and Tom Gaunt, Head of Change & Transformation for BTS Europe, join Rick Cheatham, CMO, for a discussion about the six common pitfalls of organizational culture change, and also offer uncommon-sense moves to counter each of them.
Rick Cheatham: When people think about culture, they’re still thinking about cultural shifts in a very traditional way that may not be able to deliver the results that they need.
Alex Amsden: Repeatedly, our clients come to us and say, “We have a new strategy, we’ve shifted something, and there’s still friction in the system that we can’t exactly put our finger on, and oftentimes that friction is culture.
Rick Cheatham: Culture is a funny thing, because depending on who you’re talking to, culture can be a relatively negative or loaded word. It can just mean like, “People smile when they look each other in the hallways,” or it can be in-depth ways of working. What do we think about when we say this is the best definition of culture that we have?
Alex Amsden: How we define culture at BTS is: a set of deeply held organizational mindsets that shape who we are and how we do things.
Some important words in that sentence: deeply held, it’s typically those instinctual things that outlive even people’s tenure at the company. Organizational mindsets: you know, we can think of a mindset as the belief that drives behavior. And in this case, we see organizations have shared mindsets that are driving how they operate. Who we are is really, you know, the purpose of the company, the values, the identity. And then how we do things is the actions we take on a day to day basis, both as individuals, teams, collectively, and also the accepted practices that support them.
So, what we’re doing in this definition is kind of breaking down those mindsets that drive who we are and how we do things so that we can actually start tackling those levers.
Rick Cheatham: I’ve always been so interested in the dual reality [of]: What do we cognitively know to be true? And what are our core beliefs that shape what we do when we’re not thinking and we don’t necessarily believe someone’s watching? So many leaders can sit in a conference room and say, “Hey, this is how we treat each other,” but if we don’t shift those mindsets, it’s not going to actually change anything.
Alex Amsden: That’s right. And now that we’re clear on what we mean by culture, the bigger question that our clients often have is like, “Okay, what do we do about it?” And, you know, something we’ve found, we’ve gotten kind of obsessed about this at BTS, is that the traditional playbook of moves that people have used for years and years to tackle culture is really insufficient in today’s world. So happy to share some of the learnings we’ve had, because I think there [are] some pitfalls that we see, and then some very, very uncommon sense moves that we think you should do instead.
Global Lead for Culture Transformation, BTS
Head of Change & Transformation, BTS Europe, BTS
Culture Transformation Lead, BTS North America, BTS
Chief Marketing Officer , BTS
Marketing Manager, BTS
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