“Can a Leader change the culture without compromise?”

A friend who is doing MBA called me up and told me she is having her Leadership examination soon and wanted me to share some thoughts about Leaders and Culture. After putting the phone, I cannot help but to reflect on what I have said and wanted to write down my thoughts.

My answer is YES! Leader plays an important role in shaping the culture of a company. In fact, there is ABC in order to shape the culture….

Attitude: It starts from the general attitude and perception of the staff about things. The strong will influences others of what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’

Behaviour: Thoughts will affect the behaviour. How a staff behaves and how others should behave. Group pressure will be a key factor here.

Culture: Finally, if behaviour is practice long enough, it become the norm or generally called ‘the ways things are done here’. Whether you like it or not, culture will be formed. It is whether it is will help to move and build the organization or it will hinder the growth of the organization.

However, can a leader change a culture without compromise? I guess it very much depends on the leadership style and how much he can afford to loss. Most of us have this ‘heroic charismatic leaders’ image implanted in us since young. We have seen movies of leaders standing against the whole world to push things through and eventually proofing them to be right. Anyone tried doing it? What happened?
Well, there is something the movie did not show.…
Do you know how many have made it?

Do you know before they can stand against the odd, what have they been ‘planting’ in the people?

I feel that to change the culture, a leader needs 3 things…

1) Strong Faith: Know it is the right thing to do
2) Determination: Never give up Attitude
3) Planting Seeds in others

I feel that the first 2 points are self explanatory. However, I wanted to talk more about the 3rd point. With the rapid changes in technology, information is more readily available. At the same time, people generally are more educated. People can think and analyse things themselves and they do not like to be led blindly. If a leader forces certain culture down the throat of the follower without planting the seeds, one will find strong resistance.

Leaders need to plant seeds in others. Leaders need to win people’s heart. They need either proven track records from the past or able to envision, energise others, touching their hearts in believing it is possible. This people in turn will help to influence others.

Have you planted your seeds?

Have you envisioned and energised your team?
Have you touched people's heart?  

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