When facing change,

When facing change, how robust is your cultural operating system?

Have you ever compared your company culture with any electronic devices? My guess is no…

However, it is not a question about whether your company has a cultural operating system (COS) or not. The question is rather about if your operating system supports or challenge the strategies for transformation?

Just like the electronic devices, our companies are governed by a culture operating system, that defines the set of rules (written and unwritten), which guide the behavior of employees.


In the times of digital transformations and disruptions of robotics software making data and work processes more complex the good news is, that the cultural operating system only needs to enable two functions. The measure of a good COS is the degree to which it enables an organization to execute and innovate consistently.


Let’s look into four crucial skills, that are key skills across diverse industries when we want to enable a High-Performance Culture Operation System. Global research from VitalSmarts shows, that these four skills will make changes run more smoothly and improve faster. But with the absent from these crucial skills, you might face a cultural system bogs down and gets mired in mediocrity—or worse.


Self-directed change


The unwritten rule in most organizations is about resisting change. We do not want to change anything unless we are dragged kicking and screaming into it!


One VitalSmarts study revealed that fewer than 10 percent of employees are able to change their own deeply ingrained habits—even when their lives or careers depend on it. We believe change takes a long time and we believe the job of executives is to “drive” or “manage” change. As a result of the lack of core competencies to drive change, key initiatives are led by a small pool of self-starters—or they don’t happen at all.


Open Dialogue

One of the biggest barriers to leveraging the potential of a workforce of subject-matter experts is, that people avoid speaking up about emotionally and politically risky issues, even when it’s in the best interests of the organization. When people can’t speak the truth to those in power, the organization loses its ability to self-correct and its capacity to handle the unexpected. Management needs to develop COS based on trust and open dialogue to s caught mistakes more quickly and implement change more effectively.


The unwritten rule that “accountability is someone else´s job” is the root cause of time and resources wasted. When employees fail to hold each other accountable for situations like missed deadlines, broken promises, violated expectations & poor behavior, you will have a weak COS. The core value is not power but results. By growing a norm that allows employees to raise concerns at all levels, you will empower responsibility and the focus on learning rather than blaming.

Influential leadership

The fourth skill in the COS system is about influential leadership. In Peak Balance, we have over the past 10 years meet organizations with a deep cynicism about the ability to lead change. When leaders are not able to mobilize their people to execute or innovate in a conscious and strategic way, one change initiative after another will fail.


The culture of cynicism builds year after year, as bold strategies produce small effects. With time employees experienced that it is a waste of time to understanding and support change efforts. Instead, they wait them out to see if they will go away.

You need to identify the unwritten rules driving the behavior, that sets the barriers to change.

Peak Balance has designed a transformation lead program for managers and change agents, that focus on the myriad forces that shape behavior, and is vital to engage all of these forces into successful change.

We train you in the vital skills to build a high-performance cultural operating system based on self-directed change, open dialogue, accountability, and influential leadership.


Do you want to give your COS a health check for any organizational viruses? Contact us to learn more about the culture assessment tool and/or the vital transformation lead training program.

Related Posts