As an organization progresses through its life cycle, there are moments of cultural adjustment needed. Leaders must understand how to navigate such cultural corrections before employee incongruence sets in. For most organizations, there is always a small percentage of incongruence, but the key for leaders is to keep it low and not allow it to effect the overall health and productivity. Incongruence is bound to diminish an organization’s capacity to maintain high levels of performance. (Cameron and Quinn, 2011, p. 71)
Despite the best efforts of leaders there are times when high levels of incongruence set in. Cultural incongruence leads to differences in perspectives, goals, and strategies and leader must recognize the indicators of a needed cultural adjustment. (Cameron and Quinn, 2011)
When a cultural adjustment is needed an effective strategy needs to be put into place clearly mapping how the cultural changes will take place. First leaders must take into account how quickly the change needs to take place considering the pace necessary to move the process forward without creating more incongruence. (Cameron and Quinn, 2011) This is the real test for the leaders navigating the cultural change. Quality leaders have the ability to bring people together and unite them around a common cause when transition is present. (Hartsfield, p.3)
Unfortunately, even the best efforts of a leader can’t dispel incongruence in some employees, and it is necessary to invite those employees to succeed elsewhere. As leadership navigates cultural change, employees have the option to buy-in or move on, and once they have made their choice leaders should respect it. Part of cultural change is allowing some people to dismiss themselves from the culture.
Cameron, K. S., & Quinn, R. E. (2011). Diagnosing and Changing Organizational Culture: Based on the Competing Values Framework (3 edition). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Hartsfield, M. (n.d.). Leading with the Power of Community. Leadership Advance Online, (iss. 8), pp. 1–5.