We have studied culture transformations at numerous organizations, and our findings indicate the following:
Leading by doing: Top management must lead by example, but this can be difficult when the new culture requires behavioral changes that are both foreign and challenging for the executives themselves to adopt.
Engaging all levels: Driving change too much from the top can actually be counterproductive. For the lowest-performing change programs, the top leadership was actually quite involved in implementation, but the problem was a severe disconnect lower in the organization. The highest-performing programs involved employees at all levels of the organization in the change.
Showing, not saying: Employees need to know what the new behaviors will look and feel like, so they can be brought to life for everyone. In essence, the desired behaviors must be embedded into every aspect of the organization, so they will eventually become hardwired into what employees do and how they act.