Changing culture with intention.

Author:Ast, Amy L.
Position:Juvenile Justice News - Prison leadership and organizational culture

Several studies have reported that the most frequently cited reason for failure within an organization is neglect of the culture. Culture within the workplace is made up of shared assumptions, values and beliefs, all of which have an influence on how people perform their jobs. In a profession like corrections, where change is evident and rapid, and the "status quo" is no longer acceptable or effective, how to change becomes the challenge many agencies face today. (1) When an agency identifies itself as experiencing mass problems related to its culture, leadership must be willing to take bold steps to redirect the workforce in a desired direction. Most often, the need is made evident when the agency becomes riskaverse, tolerant to mediocrity and aware of policy drift. Agencies that change culture with intention have to begin by assessing the members of their top leadership teams. Leaders who are not mindful of the mission at hand and not willing to take the difficult, but necessary, steps to be impactful cannot effectively influence change or convince the workforce of the need for change.

When leadership endeavors to change culture with intention, the following elements must exist:

* A clear and concise marketing strategy;

* A commitment to imbed data and technology into operational management;

* A commitment to allowing or affording the workforce to play an active role in policy development;

* An onboarding process in line with the agency's mission, vision and core values; and

* A commitment to have a workforce trained in best practices.


The marketing strategy must include a strong messaging component that informs all agency staff of the "why"--why the change is necessary and why now. Messaging must also appeal to staff in regard to how valuable and necessary they are to the change process. At Prosci--an organization based in Fort Collins, Colo., that researches change management and implements its programs --research team experts emphasize the importance of return on investment (ROI). Marketing strategies must illustrate the benefits staff will acquire throughout the culture change, as well as the R01, which must be effectively communicated. The premise is that organizational change occurs one person at a time, emphasizing "a change initiative that is directly tied to an employee's adoption, utilization and proficiency in the tools and solutions intended to move the organization into the future state." (2)

Data and Technology


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