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Culture clubs constrain efficiency

Government spending cuts are going to dominate the media for the next year and today Sir Philip Green announced that he would be focusing on the areas where the most money was spent and said there could be a money saving opportunity in the introduction of centralised procurement.

In a subsequent interview, Gerry Robinson said that seeing where savings could be made is not the issue, it’s about successfully implementing large scale change in the public sector. This is where it gets complicated, because of the way things get done. And the solution is not employing more change consultants.

Culture comes up a lot in the CIPR internal communication classes and that’s why there is whole chapter on this in the book. Donna McAleese unpicks what we mean by culture and looks at different perspectives on how to understand, and change, culture.  A key message is that employee support for change is critical and bottom up approaches are more effective, but take longer. This is very challenging in cultures that are not used to change and it feels scary and uncomfortable. Having experienced numerous major change programmes at BT, you do become more accustomed to them, though it does, of course, always depend on the nature of the change.

The Towers Watson 2009/10 Communication ROI Study Report reveals that only 40 per cent of organisations involved the internal communication function in change management. However, more alarmingly, in 58 per cent of cases professional communicators didn’t get involved in the change process until implementation planning began. This is where the opportunity lies for successful change – getting  communication embedded as the most important factor of all from the start would make a big difference.

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