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Carol Evenson

Del Ile Technology Inc.

Training Manager

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Shaping the Company Culture After a Significant Business Change


Every business has culture, regardless its size, industry, or age. What separates successful companies from their competitors is the ability to leverage culture to bolster their business goal.

It calls for engaging hearts and mind of employees and creating an environment where employees are inspired to achieve extraordinary results. Today, organization culture has received tremendous attention.

In fact, the word ‘culture’ was the most popular word according to Merriam-Webster in 2014. For good reason, it has become one of the most famous words in corporate boardrooms. Most CEO knows that culture matters and strongly influence business results.

CEOs needs to create a flourishing culture especially when business experience significant change such as mergers and acquisition, new structure and strategies, organization agility due dynamic marketplace, and aligning the organization to new leaders and roles. This article explains how leaders can leverage culture vulnerability for better and reshape the companies after going through major changes.

Purposeful leadership

After a significant shift in business operation, the CEO, and senior leaders must own and lead the culture-shaping process.

For example, the CEO of Lenovo camped out in the lobby of headquarters wearing a sticker "Hello, my name is YY" and shakes hand with employees as they walked through the door because that is the corporate culture they wanted. Leaders need to have a compelling purpose for themselves coupled with a strong business rationale to inspire desired organizational culture.

The process needs to be supported by execution plan and resources just like any other business strategy. After a significant change in business, leaders cast a powerful shadow. A Successful culture-changing process requires an integrated approach that must be embedded from the top throughout the organization. Thus, culture needs to be defined through behaviors and values modeled from senior members.

Personal change

Genuine and lasting change can only occur through personal insights. When an organization is undergoing significant changes, it presents a timely opportunity to unfreeze existing habits and inspire personal behavior changes.

This happens not only in intellectual level but also on an emotional level. Desired personal change is developed through insights-based learning, and it is best accomplished when reinforcing changes.

Employees need to understand the purpose of shaping their culture for them to make a personal connection to desired change. It has been proven that firms that focus on shifting their employee behaviors while implementing significant changes in the companies tend to be more successful in changing organization culture.

Broad engagement

Significant changes in company operations come along with momentum, energy, and critical mass that can be used to engage people in the desired culture at all levels of the company. Under normal condition, implementing new culture is more difficult because culture resists what is most needed.

A good example is Blue Coat - when the company acquired Elastica they used the momentum to build excitement by sharing out the news on their corporate LinkedIn account with employees and enable them to realize the company achievement.

That acquisition was leveraged as a way to inspire employs and show them Blue Coat is growing, hence creating inspiration to achieve even more. Changes create opportunities for an integrated process to shift behaviors and reinforce new principles.


Professor James Heskett conducted extensive research that detailed corporate culture of 200 companies and how culture affects companies' long-term financial performance.

One standout evidence from his research highlight the difference in results between 12 companies that had culture enhancement as the business adopted changes and 20 company did not have sort of culture improvement.

Over 11 years period, the average increase for the 12 firms was 682% in revenue growth, 282% employment growth, 901% in stock price growth, and 756% in net income growth.

On the other hand, the average increase for the other 20 firms was 166% in revenue growth, 36 % in employment growth, 74% in stock price growth, and 1% in net income growth.

Instead of allowing undesired culture to shape companies during significant changes smart leaders leverage those moments and shape the company culture through a combination of broad engagement, inspiring personal change, and purposeful leadership.

Author Profile Picture
Carol Evenson

Training Manager

Read more from Carol Evenson

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