Dear Colleagues!  This is Asrar Qureshi’s Blog Post #834 for Pharma Veterans. Pharma Veterans aims to share knowledge and wisdom from Veterans for the benefit of Community at large. Pharma Veterans Blog is published by Asrar Qureshi on WordPress, the top blog site. Please email to for publishing your contributions here.

This post has been inspired by an article written by Allan Watkinson and Rohit Kar published in Gallup® Workplace on 24 March 2023. (Link appears at the end)

With all the talk and rhetoric about organizational culture, what is the process if the culture is to be built deliberately? This is the question we shall address in today’s post. Couple of basics first.

Photo Credit: Yan Krukau

The age of organization is a determining factor for the culture transformation; older organizations will take longer and harder effort to bring change. The size of the organization is important; larger the organization, longer it takes to transform. The commitment of top layer is the most important determining factor; their behavior will make or break the process.

Because culture is such an elusive thing, the new joiners must go through a process of understanding and learning to navigate through the complex maze called culture. The management can make this process easier by defining the values that make the foundation of its culture.

Building or transforming culture is not just the responsibility of HR department; everyone must contribute to make it happen. The path to transformation is also not the same for every organization because their industry, business type, and products are not the same.

Gallup’s experience suggests that exceptional cultures have intense focus; they are tailored to the workplace’s customers, mission, and value proposition. Culture is not just about values; it is about accountability as well.

Gallup recommends that leaders must have obsessive alignment with granular details to build clarity and accountability. Gallup also identifies five key levels with which leaders should strengthen alignment.

Level 1 – What does culture mean? It refers to the process of raising and finding answers about why the workplace exists, what unique identity it has, and how the important decisions are made.

Level 2 – Why does culture matter? This is about understanding if the culture enables organization strategy, influence employees to do the best for their customers, in what other ways culture impacts organization focus and working, and how much time and money could be committed to achieve desired culture.

Level 3 – Where are we now? Questions relate to whether purpose and brands aligned to employees and customers, is the culture consistent across all functions of the organization, and whether the culture cascades down to every employee.

Level 4 – Where do we want to go? Question about desired destination and the logic to be there, defining the core behaviors expected from the team members, the relevance of desired behaviors to customer satisfaction, and the unique points of culture that should undergo transformation.

Level 5 – How will we track progress? For any effort to succeed, milestones and checkpoints are essential. Use of data, KPIs, and other metrics may be employed to track progress. At the same time, the managers must be held to the highest level of accountability.

Transforming the culture of an organization is a complex and gradual process that requires deliberate planning, commitment, and consistent effort from leadership and employees. Here are the practical steps to effectively transform the culture of an organization. These steps also address the levels defined above.

1. Assess Current Culture

   – Understand the existing culture by conducting surveys, focus groups, and interviews with employees at all levels.

   – Identify cultural strengths and weaknesses, as well as aspects that align or conflict with the desired culture.

2. Define Desired Culture with Relevant Details

   – Clearly define the desired culture based on the organization’s values, mission, and strategic goals.

   – Articulate the new cultural elements that need to be instilled, such as collaboration, innovation, or customer-centricity.

3. Engage and Get the Leadership Committed

   – Ensure senior leaders are fully committed to the cultural transformation and lead by example.

   – Empower leaders to champion the change, communicate the vision, and model the desired behaviors.

4. Involve Employees at All Levels

   – Involve employees from various departments and levels in the transformation process.

   – Encourage their input, address concerns, and make them part of the change.

5. Communicate Clearly and Effectively

   – Create a clear and compelling narrative about the reasons behind the cultural transformation.

   – Regularly communicate progress, successes, and challenges to keep everyone informed and engaged.

6. Align Policies and Processes with the Desired Outcomes

   – Review existing policies, procedures, and systems to ensure they support the desired culture.

   – Update or revise these elements as needed to reinforce the cultural change.

7. Provide Training and Development for Better Understanding and Implementation

   – Offer training programs that align with the new culture’s values and behaviors.

   – Provide learning opportunities to help employees develop the skills needed to thrive in the transformed environment.

8. Recognize and Reward Desired Behaviors

   – Implement recognition and reward systems that celebrate and reinforce behaviors aligned with the new culture.

   – Publicly acknowledge employees who exemplify the desired values and behaviors.

9. Address Resistance and Barriers through Dialogue and Accountability

   – Identify sources of resistance and address them through open dialogue and transparency.

   – Offer support, clarify misconceptions, and involve skeptics in shaping the transformation.

10. Pilot Initiatives

    – Start with smaller-scale pilot projects that embody the desired cultural changes.

    – Use the pilot’s success as evidence of the positive impact of the transformation.

11. Monitor and Adjust to Stay on Course

    – Continuously monitor progress toward cultural transformation goals.

    – Collect feedback from employees and adjust strategies as needed based on insights and lessons learned.

12. Celebrate Milestones

    – Celebrate key milestones and achievements throughout the cultural transformation journey.

    – Recognize and appreciate the collective efforts that contribute to the positive change.

13. Lead by Example

    – Leadership’s commitment is crucial. Model the desired behaviors consistently and authentically.

    – Display resilience in the face of challenges and demonstrate unwavering commitment to the transformation.

14. Sustain the Change Process and Results

    – Embed the new cultural elements into the organization’s DNA by integrating them into daily practices.

    – Continuously reinforce the desired behaviors and values through consistent communication and leadership actions.

Cultural transformation takes time, effort, and patience. It requires collective effort and the willingness to adapt as the organization evolves. Successful transformation leads to increased employee engagement, improved performance, and enhanced organizational resilience in a rapidly changing business landscape.

Cultural transformation is never easy. However, this difficult road must be traveled if the organization wishes to stay strong, stable, relevant, growing, and thriving. Most organizations never start the process because they are okay with whatever culture they have. Some of those who start the process, get tired, and abandon the process on the way, without achieving anything. A rather small number of organizations take it to the end in a committed way, and these are the winners.


Disclaimer: Most pictures in these blogs are taken from Google Images and Pexels. Credit is given where known; some do not show copyright ownership. However, if a claim is lodged at any stage, we shall either mention the ownership clearly, or remove the picture with suitable regrets.


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