Examples and Solutions
The Viral Change™ approach always addresses specific business challenges. Sometimes these are defined by people in broad terms such as ‘the need to change the culture’, sometimes in a rather more specific one, for example ‘we need to focus on innovation’. Most broad intentions will need to be translated into specific areas of transformation. Similarly, most ‘single focus’ are probably part of broader needs.
We call these needs (innovation, accountability, client-centricity etc) the cultural “outputs”. In a Viral Change™ programme, we will work with you on the “inputs” – the behaviours you need to get the output you want – and work with you to scale these behaviours in a sustainable way.
Below are some examples of scenarios arbitrarily classified here. Each scenario belongs to more than one type of focus but they have been artificially labelled here for illustration purposes.
Broad cultural intent: cultural transformation, fast alignment, collaboration, globalization
Overall cultural transformation: focused on specific new drivers such as agility, accountability and customer focus, for example. It is quite common for people to dedicate significant efforts to the finding of the goals, then figure out the kind of processes that may need to change. But very often people get stuck here without translating the goals into behavioural change. Viral Change™ includes all of the above but goes well beyond the traditional consulting borders of transformation of ‘structures’ to get into the realities of day to day behavioural change and provide a solid solution.
Fast alignment (Reorganization, M&A, JV alignment across divisions/affiliates etc). Very often 90% of the efforts are directed to a ‘rational appeal’. Alignment is however truly behavioural. The same applies when in an M&A or Joint Venture situation the integration efforts stop at the processes and system levels and leave unsolved the source of all possible disappointments: the behavioural change that needs to take place, the creation of a new behavioural DNA. The Viral Change™ approach provides the solution.
‘A collaborative culture’: transitioning from individualistic and silo culture to cross-collaboration and collective intelligence. Many traditional approaches tend to focus on re-design as a solution. The issue is behavioural most of the time. Collaboration as a behavioural driver must be in the (new) DNA ; structural solutions alone will not make much difference. Viral Change™ provides a sustainable framework for fast creation of collaboration.
‘Globalization’: companies ‘going global’, redefining the new ‘international manager or leader’ and embedding the new behaviour across cultures and geographies. There is a fair degree of training involved here in the areas of trans-cultural management but Viral Change™ takes over where a training approach
tops in order to spread specific behaviours across borders.
Emergent business issues: Cost reduction and rationalization, technology rescue, sales force effectiveness
• Cost reduction and rationalization: eliminating processes and barriers, creating a new agile culture with diminished resources. Most new streamlined processes and new procedures, including new governance, also require new behaviours. People need to work in different ways and perhaps interact with different people. The key changes, very often forgotten, are behavioural. A leaner organization is not a small version of a less-lean one; it is very different in its behavioural DNA. Viral Change™ provides the framework and ways to realize the benefits of the new organization.
• ‘Technology rescue’: many technology implementation efforts (CRM, ERP etc) are notoriously unsuccessful despite the quality of the technology ( and the expenditure!) not because the process of mapping and involving stakeholders is wrong (if anything, very often over inclusive) but because the use of the new technology involves significant behavioural change in people. Technology and process attract 75% of the budget, whilst behavioural change provides 75% of the problems. Viral Change™ plugs-in where the behavioural neglect exists.
• Sales force effectiveness. A good example is the one of transitioning from a ‘product selling’ to a ‘solution selling’. The new interactions with the customer are naively thought to be simply trainable when in truth very often those new ways entail significant change in behaviours by customer- facing staff. New behaviours can be rationally explained but their spread at scale takes place only by imitation and copying in a peer-to-peer environment. Viral Change™ provides the framework and the solution.
Single focus of attention: Safety in the workplace, creating a culture of innovation, customer-centrism
• Safety in the workplace: beyond training and communication, creating true behavioural change and a culture of safety. Within Oil and gas, transportation etc, Viral Change™ takes care of the ‘creation of a culture’. Traditional top-down standards – training, communication, and compliance – need not stop! But they are insufficient to shape a culture per se. Many well known safety disasters are hardly addressed, corrected and solved by ‘having more training’.
• Creating a culture of innovation: beyond process and technology, changing behaviours to create an innovation DNA. Traditional innovation programmes focus on process (idea generation, idea qualification, investment decision, implementation) and technology (collaborative software). All those may be required but they don’t work in the absence of an appropriate behavioural DNA. Viral Change™ addresses a culture of innovation in behavioural terms, spreading new behaviours, leading to the utilization of those processes and technology.
• Customer-centrism: transforming the organization into a true customer-centred one; the new behaviours spread globally and a new customer-centred culture (and competency) is shaped. There is a lot that traditional training can provide here but only behavioural change creates a real change. Viral Change™ creates the umbrella where training and behaviours meet. Customer-centric behaviours spread like any other by orchestrating social copying and imitation, not by dictation of sales managers.
Workforce engagement: Post leadership development, employee engagement, organizational branding
• Post leadership development/team building: implementing and embedding values and behaviours across the organization. Team alignment. Many efforts here are traditionally biased towards ‘communication’ of some sort. New frameworks are created, information is cascaded down and workshops with managers are ‘rolled out’. But the embedment, spread and scale up is behavioural. Viral Change™ uses the ‘behavioural translation; and the power of peer-to-peer influence to make those frameworks real.
• Employee engagement: redefining engagement by, for example, creating a new culture of collaboration, ownership and accountability through new behaviours spread virally. Employee engagement is becoming ‘an industry on its own’. Many traditional approaches mix up ‘communicating’ and ‘engaging’ which are very different. Viral Change™ is real life employee engagement at its best.
• Organizational branding: defining non-negotiable behaviours that need to be applied to the organization’s interface with stakeholders. Creating a culture consistent with the brand. Traditional ‘employee branding’ focuses on communication and training. ‘Living a brand’ however is behavioural. Following a branding exercise, the real-life embedment of the brand goes well beyond logos and artefacts. It is behavioural, at scale, or it isn’t!