53: Creating Organizational Cultures For Superior Results

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In his career, Tony Moore has worked in four different turnaround environments and led the people side of five mergers, personally turning company cultures around and driving results within organizations by focusing on culture. It has placed him in the unique position of understanding and valuing culture as the key to organizational performance. Through his experience designing and implementing culture, Tony now serves as a culture architect to organizations. He is also an author, trainer, speaker, experienced developer and seasoned HR professional. 
In this episode, Tony explains what is meant by “Culture in 4D”, why culture is critical to achieving organizational results, and the relationship between engagement and culture. He offers HR leaders his insights to why and how to build strong cultures, including how to make the case to organizational leaders for engaging employees in culture change initiatives. 
Listen (above) or watch the video (below) to catch Linda's interview with Tony.

Key Learnings From This Episode

  • What is the meaning of Culture in 4D? Culture in 4d is the outline or the process for leading culture change. Each D stands for one step in the process. 
    1. Dream it
    2. Develop it
    3. Design it
    4. Defend it
Culture in 4D addresses developing the culture you want to have and then how to make those changes stick.
  • Why culture matters. The most important thing to keep in mind with culture is that culture is the soil in which everything within the organization lives and dies. If you don’t have the culture to support your plans or what it is you are trying to execute, you will fail or fail to get the results that you could get if your culture was aligned with what you were trying to create. The culture has to support what an organization is trying to build.  

    Tony gives an example of a recent consulting engagement involving middle managers who were perceived to be myopic and non-strategic in their thinking. From interviews with the managers, Tony learned that strategic discussions occurred at the executive level where information was hoarded and slowly trickled down. Because the culture did not support the free flow and sharing of information about vision and strategy, the behavior and skills of middle managers could not change. Training them to be strategic would have been premature or unnecessary as long as the culture issue remained unaddressed.

  • How engagement is linked to culture. Engagement is directly aligned with culture. A common mistake many people make is not going through the process of figuring out how to engage the person you are trying to engage. When we make assumptions about what employees want, engagement is unlikely to go up. By turning the engagement experience over to employees, it allows them to help design the relational and operational aspects of culture. How communication will take place, who will make decisions, etc. It shifts accountability and ownership for the organization’s culture, which in turn creates more buy-in and ultimately increases engagement.
  • How can HR make the case for engaging employees in the culture change? Tony proposed two imperatives. If you want to change the world, start where you are and work your way out: 
      HR Studio Podcast Guest Quote: Tony Moore
    1. Examine your own house first. Create the culture in your own team that you want to see organization-wide. E.g. Create a ‘drama-free” zone by defining the process that will be used to deal with emotions. 
    2. Make the business case with clarity. As HR professionals, we have to become experts at describing the value of culture and people processes at the same level the CFO explains finances. Describe how culture impacts performance. Describe why you want to have a certain kind of culture in a language that anyone can understand. 
  • Bridging the gap between operations & HR. Prior to HR, Tony held operations roles. This has allowed him to successfully bridge the gap between operations and HR people. He is able to understand what goes on in the minds of customers and understands how HR brings value, moving HR from transactional to strategic input and applying data to the process of effecting change. As a culture architect, Tony uses data to drive cultural change. This allows him to get away from his gut feeling and to depersonalize the information. Tony has been a part of various mergers and seen first-hand the importance of the ability to align cultures. This determines whether you see the results you are looking for.
  • A key learning from Culture in 4D. Leaders often see culture as soft. They may or may not see the importance of it. If they do see the importance of it, they might not know where to start. 4D provides a simple process for creating a culture you want. Organizations that pay attention to culture will outperform their peers. 

Recommended Reading and References From this Episode

To Follow Tony Moore

Tony Moore HR Studio Podcast Show Notes - Episode 50
Tony Moore HR Studio Podcast Show Notes - Episode 50
Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - 8:00am
HR Consulting
Linda Hlavac
Tony Moore
HR Studio Podcast