Corporate culture and cultural change

  1. Definition
  2. Leadership culture
  3. Challenges when working on corporate culture
  4. Developing a corporate culture
  5. Conducting culture development: concrete measures, Timmermann style

1. Definition

Corporate culture is a critical factor that determines the success or failure of an organization. A change in culture can make your organization more competitive, more innovative and more sustainable. But: What is corporate culture all about?

Here's our minimal definition of corporate culture: "The way we do things around here." This includes, among other things, how leaders lead, how people interact with each other and with themselves, how decisions are made, how efficiently, effectively and across silos people work with each other, how open to new things they are, and how willing they are to take risks.

2. Leadership culture

The leadership culture in a company includes the understanding of leadership, the underlying values, norms and attitudes, and how managers behave towards each other, their employees. Their external appearance is also important. (Just imagine Steve Jobs in a gray pinstripe suit with a tightly knotted tie. Or a government official in a turtleneck sweater, jeans and sneakers.) Clothing choice also partly reflects the fundamental values of the management culture. And underlying all this is the question of how leadership culture in the company is defined: authoritarian, or cooperative? A fit between the leadership culture and the desired corporate culture is crucial to the success of a culture change project and can be supported, for example, with effective leadership development measures.

Topics - Culture Change - Classic hierarchical position-based leadership

3. Challenges when working on corporate culture

Many decision-makers in organizations are keen to actively shape their corporate culture. Large, established companies, in particular, could benefit greatly from a cultural change from risk avoidance towards renewal, and from individualism towards collectivism. This cultural change is necessary to open up new markets quickly, respond more flexibly to customer needs, be efficient and achieve a high level of employee satisfaction and thereby performance and willingness.


Topics - Culture Change - the most important cultural dimensions

Some companies try in vain to change their culture with a "management mindset". They focus on adapting processes, setting clearly measurable goals, issuing instructions and changing structures.
Others haven't yet realized that they can influence something as intangible as culture in a structured way.

Do any of these thoughts about corporate culture sound familiar?

  • "Corporate culture? That's everything and nothing - very intangible."
  • "I know it's important, but I haven't quite grasped the concept yet."
  • "How can you really influence corporate culture?"
  • "To really change our corporate culture, we would have to change our people."

Often, outdated beliefs and convictions also stand in the way of organizational culture change:

  • "People can't change."
  • "You're either a born leader or you're not"

 Such outdated attitudes often result in employees being denied real further development and personal cultural change. There is neither empirical nor psychological support for these thought patterns. Many characteristics, including personality traits, are not completely innate and certainly not immutable. With sufficient willpower, professional corporate culture consulting and collegial support, momentous changes are possible on both a personal and organizational level.

4. Developing a corporate culture

During a culture change process, there are various aspects that a company can and should manage. In particular, a clear, emotionally appealing image of the target culture should be developed jointly, right at the beginning.

 Topics - Culture Change - Preparations for the change of climate

However, real cultural change only occurs if a critical mass of people subsequently work on their individual behavioral and thought patterns and support each other in the process. In our practice, these 4 success factors have proved themselves to be valuable:

Topics - Culture Change - success factors of a cultural change


5. Conducting cultural development: concrete measures, Timmermann style

To consciously develop corporate culture, we work with our clients in an intensive transformational relationship. Within the framework of corporate culture consulting, we set up a joint program that works with targeted measures, e.g.:

  • Culture diagnostics
  • Leadership development and staff development for key teams
  • Special large group events with *moments of truth
  • Change leader training
  • Training, deployment and support of a cultural ambassador network
  • Individual shadowing and coaching for intensive work on personal change

Topics - Culture Change - month of truth