Question: How many people does it take to change an organization's culture?
Answer: Just one.
Turning traditional business thinking on its head, world top 10 leadership guru - as ranked by independent research company Global Gurus International - Arthur Carmazzi's Directive Communication philosophy and methodologies are transforming organizations large and small around the globe.
Until Directive Communication, the benchmark for best practice in organizational change management was the McKinsey 7 S framework, which was developed in the 1970s.
"Directive Communication directly contradicts the McKinsey model, but it and the other famous models are so out of date. They used to work 20 years ago, but we live in an age where people have become accustomed to getting immediate information and emotional gratification. If you don't have a way to get people engaged on a positive emotional level you will lose employee engagement," says Arthur.
"Directive Communication International (DCI) works because people do get instant gratification - they can see the positive changes and benefits immediately, but it also creates a perpetual system. The psychology and training aims to create a workplace environment where organizational goals are in line with the employee's identity.
"Organizational culture is not that difficult to change one you have some perimeters in place and everyone is aware of the process about to start."
The change program takes approximately three months to see results, although Arthur says the majority of the work takes place in the first two to three weeks, with the rest of the time about creating sustainability. So far the training has been given to 400,000 individuals in dozens of firms in 36 countries.
"Cultural problems usually start with competence-based recruitment. How many times has company brought someone in because they have an MBA from Yale or Oxford? They are super smart, they are do their job, but alienate everyone in the process and productivity goes down.
"Directive Communication identifies different facets of your organization's culture to ensure cohesion between competence and fit.
"The more screwed up a company is, the more visible the results," laughs Arthur. "If you get a company operating at a super high level the results are marginal, but if you have a company where people are not very engaged not very satisfied - they are only doing their job for the money you will see 'in your face' visible results."
Arthur says the results are measurable and fast. A 2007 Directive Communication International culture assessment study found that 'good cultures' vs 'bad cultures' in an organization with a neutral company culture, 100 people would do the work of 100 people. In the worst culture, 100 did the work of 68. In the best, 100 did the work of 152 - or a 52% increase in productivity.
A recent project with Emirates Hotels saw a 21% increase in productivity.
"One example was that it used to take two housekeeping staff to make a room up to standard, and they could only manage eight rooms in one day. After the course, the exact same people competing were turning around 11 rooms a day - a 40% increase in productivity in that department alone."
Directive Communication is a five-stage process:
1. Discovery - Finding out the issues, complaints, frustrations and what can be changed bottom-up;
2. Key influencers - Positive and negative (some negatives have the potential to be positives);
3. Senior management session to get buy-in - How they can support the actual process, what they need to do and be in order to make the process work properly (not get involved, but be involved). This is bottom-up taught and they will be instructed by their subordinates;
4. Key influencers session - Arthur's team works with them for one day and then they return to work get implement and get feedback on what they have learnt, and get their circles of influence involved
5. The key influencers return five times for day courses to reinforce the learning and share implementation successes and challenges and clarify what is needed for the successes to continue.
"We've done this in Iran, in Japan; the processes that emerge within the organizations are different. Within different cultures, different companies, one person's idea's of teamwork is very different from another person's .
"And these days there are just so many people of different cultures mixed in different organizations, but Directive Communication transcends the culture of a country per se and deals with the fundamentals of human behaviour. What you do may be relevant to your culture, but your values are personal to you, and they drive how you do something, how you interpret the world around you, your emotional drivers, your motivations.
"The training is not to get one person to be more competent or more capable. It's about enabling a person to change their environment. I guarantee that no matter how great you are, the moment you go back into an environment that sucks the life of you it, ain't going to work."
The self-defining moment that led Arthur to develop Directive Communication was after he almost died - but he had kind of asked for it.
"I was stabbed in Puerto Rico. I got stabbed because I was curious; I liked to explore wrong places at the wrong times and my arrogance didn't help much. I had too much money for my age and I was a total [expletive].
"It made be re-evaluate myself. I sold everything and travelled around the world for a while until I ran out of money following a girl to Korea - it didn't work out. I started a company in Singapore and it failed leaving a massive debt of $US500,000 - my head had started to get a little bit big again. I had to get a job to pay off the debt and that was the start of where I am now.
"I went into a company and I was really passionate and really excited about my role and I found myself coming up with lots of new ideas. But I noticed people blaming each other, nothing was really getting done and after about 12 months I found myself being sucked in - I literally become part of the problem - blaming and not co-operating, not doing things this on purpose - you can come up with all sorts of justifications for that. I just got sucked into the culture. All the innovation went out the window. I didn't like this about myself. But I realised that everyone else there had been like me. They had begun with real standards and got sucked in to a bad situation. I started doing research into organizational culture and about a year later came up with the Directive Communication model.
"We as individuals are constantly communicating and our environments are constantly communicating to us and we simultaneously help to create the environment we are in. If you can purposefully direct your communication, that's when you have the ability to change your environment. The key to that is having as much awareness as you can on how you interact with other people."
For more information on Directive Communication International's courses and Arthur's books, including 'Lessons From the Monkey King', please visit ' http://directivecommunication.com