A Cultural Shift

Strategy and culture are amongst the primary levers at the disposal of leaders. While a strategy provides direction and outlines a vision, it is the culture that expresses the goals of an organisation through its values and beliefs. Culture is an unspoken set of behaviours, mindsets and social patterns which reflects a shared unity amongst a group. As security leaders, we are positioned to influence existing cultures and to set change in motion that will influence and imprint the behaviours and assumptions that future generations of a workforce will consider the norm. It is crucial that we remain cognisant of the subtle changes within the multiple cultures which surround us in an organisation and that we adopt appropriate measures in order to deftly influence the process of change. While the subtlety and ambiguity which maybe assumed when we consider the topic of culture can be daunting, it can be managed. The first thing we have to do is to become fully aware of how it works.

What Is Culture?

Culture reflects the social order of an organisation. It defines the actions that are encouraged, accepted, discouraged or rejected within a group of people. It is malleable and being flexible in its evolution according to changes in environments and the opportunities they offer. In the wealth of academic literature which has considered the concept of culture, four common themes can be identified.

Culture is shared, pervasive, enduring and implicit.

Cultural change must therefore be well planned and supported across all levels of an organisation, if it is to be effective. Any change must be designed and measured against aspirations to improve organisational performance. A phased approach to cultural change should therefore begin with the determination of the culture that presently exists within an organisation. After this, it is possible to define an aspirational target culture. Engaging across all levels of a workforce throughout, leaders must effectively articulate the culture aspiration, so as to encourage the development of change leaders and