It can take a great deal of investment and time to create a positive and supportive organizational culture. It takes a short time to destroy it.
The expectation that an organizational culture can be developed quickly is usually proven false. Demonstrating that the past will no longer be the practice and getting complete buy-in is a progressive process.
- Those hungry for change and optimistic, will become the champions for the new culture;
- Those who are more cautious need to have it proven;
- Those who profess they want change but soon realize they will have to change will probably resist and in some cases even attempt to sabotage what is being developed.
To completely shift an organization to a new culture can take years. However, it can be destroyed in a matter of months. Key players, whether they are senior executives or middle managers new to the organization or to their position, who either do not agree with the culture, who do not truly understand it, who do not have the skills or personality to implement it can cause serious damage or even destroy an established culture.
What you can do to protect a positive and supportive culture depends on your level of authority. As a middle manager you need to be the buffer for your staff from what is happening and reassure them that you will attempt to maintain the status quo. As a senior manager, it can take time to realize that a middle manager is hurting the culture and even more time to have that person learn the skills necessary to be successful.
Stay strong, stay positive.