Culture Shaping at Ohio State
What is Culture Shaping?
The purpose of culture shaping is to create the work environment where faculty and staff can thrive, and can best contribute to the strategic priorities of their college or VP unit. Culture shaping illuminates behaviors, structures and systems that have become ineffective over time, and focuses an organization on new behaviors, new systems and new structures that will be most effective for current and future realities.
To have the greatest chance of success, culture shaping should be a strategic priority alongside other college/unit priorities. A culture action plan offers the detail to support a culture-related priority and it includes a multi-faceted approach for culture shaping. It includes strategies and tactics for moving from the current culture to a desired culture, and it explicitly links culture to the strategic priorities of a college/VP unit.
Deans and Vice Presidents are considered Culture Champions, those accountable for creating a vision of a desired culture, “owning” a culture action plan to close the gap between the current culture and the desired culture, and dedicating resources to implement the culture action plan.
A Culture Work Group comprised of the Culture Strategist, the Human Resources Director, the Manager/Director of Communications and other representatives of the college/VP unit, can be effective in creating sustainable change. A Culture Work Group must be closely aligned with the Culture Champion and his/her Senior Leadership Team.
Many change management and culture shaping models exist. Ohio State has partnered with Senn Delaney, and uses its five-step DURAM© framework.
The next step in culture transformation is to expand beyond unfreezing retreats and begin to incorporate culture into the strategies of colleges and units. Each college and unit is encouraged to create and implement a culture action plan to outline the shifts needed to enable optimal performance, and strategies to create positive change. As a Culture Strategist, your role is work with your Culture Champion to create and implement that plan.
There are resources to help you develop and implement a culture action plan. These resources, which were reviewed during the "A Deeper Look at Culture Shaping" training for Culture Strategists in June, include:
- Training PowerPoint: This presentation offers more information about successes to date, and Ohio State's approach to culture transformation going forward.
- Culture Shaping Guide: The Culture Shaping Guide provides a methodology, ideas, and tools for shaping culture in colleges and VP units.
- College of Opportunity Case Study: This case study offers practice in developing a culture action plan. After you work through the case study, review this sample culture action plan for different approaches.
- Culture Placemats: Culture placemats, or visual representations of the alignment between culture and strategy, can help reinforce the importance of culture shaping. View these samples from Enrollment Services, the Office of the CIO, and the Office of Human Resources.
- Additional Reading: The article "Realigning Organization Culture for Optimal Performance" offers six principles and eight priorities for realigning culture to support strategic goals. An executive summary is also available.