Applied Learning :: Custom Solutions :: Organization and Culture

By: Applied Learning  09-12-2011

  • How do you help employees recognize the need for organizational change?
  • What does it take to create a winning culture?
  • How do you ingrain your company's values and brand into the behavior and action of employees?

The pace of change today is relentless. Organizational survival depends on leadership's ability to set the right course, make the best decisions, to inspire people. However, people often put up a strong resistance to change. People are afraid of the unknown. Many people think things are already just fine and don't understand the need for change. Functional or enterprise-wide change often goes against the very values held dear by certain members of an organization, that is, the change may go against how members believe things should be done. At the core of what we do is help employees understand and accept the need for change. Rather than "telling" employees about the need to change, clients have used the Knowledge Map process to engage the minds and hearts of employees.

Change Management

New systems, new technology and new procedures require new behaviors from employees. Corporate Change is inevitable, but it doesn't have to be painful to your company. From designing learning solutions, to developing communication plans to working with senior management we have the experience to ensure your company is aligned for optimal business performance.

Knowledge Maps provide employees an opportunity to recognize their underlying assumptions about an issue. Then employees are given the chance to review marketplace data to see that the world has changed significantly since they formed their original view of the business. Our sessions allow employees to voice their questions and doubts about an organizational issue and have their questions answered by the marketplace data presented as well as the insights that their peers share. We apply change management principles and processes to drive changes in employee behavior. Knowledge Clips are often also used to delve into specific elements of a change initiative.

Culture Change

An organization's success greatly lies in its ability to adapt and respond with speed and agility to changes in the marketplace. Changing an organization's culture is often one of the most challenging aspects of change because culture is rooted in the collective history of an organization, and so much of it is below the surface of awareness. Leaders often manage change intellectually rather than engage in it behaviorally and emotionally. Many employees approach intellectual change with an outlook of "this too shall pass."

Knowledge Maps address organizational issues at the intellectual, behavioral and emotional level. All three levels are critical for cultural change to occur. Furthermore, it is important to have a culture change process in place to sustain change on a continuous basis. We at Applied Learning, utilize the following steps to instill a culture change process in a company:

  • Uncover core values and beliefs. These may include stated values and goals, but they are also embedded in organizational metaphors, myths, and stories, and in the behaviors of members.
  • Acknowledge, respect, and discuss differences between core values and beliefs of different subcultures within the organization.
  • Look for incongruencies between conscious and unconscious beliefs and values and resolve by choosing those to which the organization wishes to commit. Establish new behavioral norms (and even new metaphor language) that clearly demonstrate desired values.
  • Repeat these steps over a long period of time. As new members enter the organization, assure that they are surrounded with clear messages about the culture they are entering. Reinforce desirable behavior.

Living the Brand

At Applied Learning, we have helped companies engage employees in a learning process regarding changes to the company's brand strategy and repositioning of the company's brand in the marketplace.

Any adjustment to a company's brand strategy needs to be reflected in the actions and behaviors exhibited by its employees. Marketing a brand promise "Come fly the friendly skies" is meaningless unless customers actually experience the promise.

It has been our experience that companies faced with this situation overlook how critical employee understanding and acceptance is, even if the changes to the brand strategy is perceived to be minor. The notion that change occurs due to top-down pronouncements is long-gone. Heroic leadership no longer drives sustainable change. Today, even though people crave leadership, they don't like being told what to think. Only change that is self-determined is sustainable.

Vision, Mission and Values

Vision, Mission and Values of a company that are well conceived but are not meaningful to employees will not impact their daily decisions or behaviors. To be able to energize employees to work towards the company's vision and mission, and exhibit agreed upon values, executives and managers should live them, be seen living them, and constantly communicate them to their employees. Custom Knowledge Maps can effectively communicate these important messages to employees. They are designed to make discussions meaningful and real for employees and help them identify specific things that they can do to work towards these goals. Having employees truly reflect and understand what aspirations the company seeks and why they matter provides a much higher probability of bringing the business results desired from a state of aspiration to realization.

Other products and services from Applied Learning


Applied Learning :: Custom Solutions :: Business Transformation

Business transformation requires employees to make dramatic changes to what they do and how they do it, but employees will resist this level of change without knowing reasons why they should, and agreeing to those reasons. The underlying philosophy of our approach is rather than tell people what to think or what to do differently, give them a fun and engaging process by which they can examine marketplace information.


Custom Solutions :: Overview

Knowledge Maps™ have been used by companies around the world to transform their employees into knowledge partners, focusing the organization on the most critical issues facing the business. Knowledge Maps are customized to meet each client's unique needs, whether those needs be company-wide strategy communication or executive leadership training.


Applied Learning :: Custom Solutions :: Strategy Implementation

Once the key pieces of the strategy have been articulated clearly by the leadership team, we can help build a action oriented framework that will help to move strategies beyond the paper they are written on. Rather than "telling" employees about your strategy, we have the ability to develop customized Knowledge Maps to engage your employees in the thinking behind the strategy.


Applied Learning :: Custom Solutions :: Leadership Development

Unless managers are equipped with the foundational knowledge of the company's strategies and tactics, it is unlikely they will be effective in engaging employees in a discussion of how each employee contributes to the future of the business. We work with Clients to integrate custom Knowledge Maps into leadership programs to renew intellectual capital and empower the executive to act as a change agent for achieving organizational effectiveness.