KCS: What To Do When the Culture Change Didn’t Stick

KCS implementers have all experienced the ebb and flow of enthusiasm during the adoption of KCS.  Here’s a scenario that might sound familiar:  the KCS implementation kicked off with a tremendous amount of excitement.  Organizational leaders have sent supportive emails, the tools have been tested, and all the training sessions have been held.   Now, after a few weeks or months, the initial roar of excitement has dipped to near silence.  Now what?

While it is tempting to look for a single magic answer, getting a culture change to stick isn’t easy.

The list below offers a path of reflection and action that can help make the KCS culture change stick.  Each item on the list has been recommended by experienced KCS implementers here at the Consortium.

  1. Start by reviewing the KCS Practices Guide, which offers many tried and true recommendations.  Specifically look at Practices 7 and 8 (Performance Assessment and Leadership & Communication) on pages 93-144.  Find two or three techniques that you either haven’t done or perhaps could do better and put these to work in your organization.
  2. Study up on how best to motivate people by reading Drive:  The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink.  This engaging book offers insights into human motivations that are very helpful for anyone implementing KCS or other organizational changes.  It will make you think differently about how you incent and measure your KCS participation.
  3. Take a look at your current metrics/dashboard and evaluate it against the Best Practices found within the Measurement Matters paper.  Fine-tune your measurements as needed to encourage the participation you are looking for.
  4. Take time to renew yourself. Being an agent of change is wonderful, but it takes loads of energy to maintain.  Participate in as many Consortium Program Team meetings as you can.  These meetings offer the opportunity to refuel while giving you the chance to share and gather creative, practical ideas with others.
  5. Carefully review your processes and communication.  Find those people who are enthusiastic about KCS and ask them to help you fine-tune the program.  Their participation offers the opportunity to make improvements that matter, and offer another opportunity to generate some contagious energy from the ground up.
  6. Ensure you are supporting the KCS coaches with the tools and information they need to do their job efficiently.  Coaches play a critical role!  Identifying potential new coaches can be invigorating.  Check in with existing coaches; you might also find that a few are ready to move on. Celebrate their contributions and help them transition their coaching responsibilities to others.
  7. Utilize all communication options available to you.  Having a consistent message widely broadcasted is important.  Celebrate successes frequently and enthusiastically, even if progress is slow. Small gains are better than no gains, and celebrating the things that are working will foster enthusiasm. Use storytelling to highlight impacts of KCS to both your organization and your customers.
  8. Offer top performers the opportunity to earn industry-recognized KCS certification through the KCS Academy.  Having processes and learning validated by an outside organization promotes engagement with the methodology; this KCS journey you are on is part of an industry-wide shift!

While none of these is a cure-all, experienced KCS practitioners know that implementation is a journey of many steps.  Building a lasting KCS culture requires attention and investment in your team.

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