Jeff Hayes
February 07, 2020

Making Culture Stick

Jeff Hayes has written an article on his interpretation of the Global State of Operational Excellence Survey Report - Critical Challenges & Future Trends - 2018/2019.  Click here to download the full Survey Report 2018/19.   

The Most Comprehensive Study of Critical Challenges and Future Trends within Operational Excellence

With nearly 1000 respondents, 37 insightful questions, detailed analysis & insights from 40 industry thought leaders, and the BTOES Insights executive team, this 130 page report is recognised as the most comprehensive study of critical challenges and future trends within Operational Excellence, and is considered a key resource for the industry. Areas covered include:

  • The Critical Operational Excellence Challenges faced by executives.

  • The Current Scope of Operational Excellence.

  • How is Operational Excellence success measured?

  • Key Findings & Roadblocks.

  • What are executives focusing on over the next 12-18 months?

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  • Industry Perspectives.

  • Small, Medium & Large Corporation Perspectives.

  • Detail Analysis & Insights from BTOES Insights Executive Team.

  • Detailed Analysis & Insights from 40 Industry Thought Leaders.

  • Analysis of key themes, including Cultural Transformation, Customer Delight, Sustaining an Operational Excellence program, Need for end-to-end Business Transformation, Keeping up with new technologies/impact of digitalization and Leadership Buy-in & Understanding.


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Making Culture Stick

When thinking about company culture, many different things come to mind. However culture takes on a completely different meaning when it comes to performance and operations. Having worked for a few different healthcare organizations, culture as varying degrees of what permeates from the top down and bottom up and it’s impact on the overall organization. Click here to read the full Survey Report 2018/19. 



One of the most critical elements to a successful organizational culture is an understanding of expectations across all levels regardless of role, title, or position.

Many organizations that fail with operational excellence and performance improvement don’t get this right. Usually what happens is a failure based on someone with a higher title or role dictating what he or she thinks should happen based on his or her own experience or bias. This also fails because they may not be the one closest to what needs fixed or might not have the right information as far as what needs to be fixed. That’s not to say that the person closest has the right answer or does the right thing to fix but a combination of the two and all parties between in between is likely necessary.Click here to read more Articles on The Global State of Operational Excellence: Critical Challenges & Future Trends - Research Report 2018/19.

Making Culture Stick




When the culture works the possibilities are endless.

This starts with coming together in agreement on what the goals are for the organization and for individuals with regards to that goal. From there it is very easy to set expectations for every person involved whether it be a small project or a large-scale strategic objective. The nice thing about having the end goal in mind is it makes it easier to troubleshoot throughout the project and over time. This also makes it easier to prioritize what needs done and what can wait. No organization is unique to not wanting to say no, but many times saying no and setting priorities needs done. If it’s not pertinent to the project or goal, it likely can wait. One of the key functions a leader can have in a project is to keep it on track, make sure everyone is on the same page, and keep pushing the project forward. Knowing what the goals and expectations are will help push that along and keep everyone focused. This all starts with a culture that supports the attitudes, behavior, teamwork, and drive that is needed to accomplish goals. Not every company has this, regardless of what they say.




So how can you tell if the culture is the right fit for accomplishing goals?

There is no easy answer, because many companies are very good at giving you a sales pitch or an elevator speech about how they do what they do. A very good way to tell how the culture actually works in an organization is to get out and speak to those people closest to the processes in an organization. As a leader, most of the time you’re going to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done. An employee who is close to the process, likely will tell you how things actually work. You will get honesty whether you want it or not, based on how things are working and how everyone is trying to reach their individual, team, and corporate goals.


In healthcare, a big complaint that is often heard revolves around doing what’s best for the patient. If we can’t deliver care that is appropriate, timely, safe, etc., due to things like the budget, patient experience, or any other goal, this will be something that frustrates all levels of employees and you will hear about it. But where you see this actually work is when there is a shared vision around what needs done for the patient and how it could be accomplished regardless of all those things.


This again starts with the culture and the expectations for every employee of an organization. While many people will say it starts with the CEO, many times it doesn’t. You definitely need buy-in from all parties involved, but you also need to make sure that the culture is set every day in all of the actions that go on in the organization, not jut projects.  When this happens, you start to see traction and things move in the direction you are pushing. You start to see every employee regardless of what their role is act and work the way the culture is going.




The other thing a high performing culture shows is employees who are not bought in and not doing what is necessary for the organization.

These employees stand out like a sore thumb. These employees are the ones the rest of the team will quickly point out and (as a leader) you know who those employees are! However having a shared goal and expectations makes those crucial conversations much easier with these types of team members and employees.




In closing, culture is one of the hardest things to change and one of the hardest things to get right in an organization.

But with a shared vision around what do you want to accomplish and sticking with that shared vision over time, you can get it right. It takes dedication from all parties to make sure that the culture sticks. Culture should not shift drastically based on the players, it should stick with the organization and what you are trying to accomplish as a company. That’s what people remember your organization for, not for the people who made the culture. Look at Apple; Steve Jobs is credited with much of the success of Apple. But look what happened after Steve Jobs passed away - Tim Cook came in and kept the company moving in the direction of his predecessors. He was dedicated to the culture and the organization and he had support from all levels across the organization.


Want to learn more? Download the full Report.
Making Culture Stick


About the Author 

Making Culture StickJeff Hayes

Principal Consultant, J. Hayes Consulting

Jeff currently serves as the Principal Consultant with J. Hayes Consulting, focusing on quality, safety and performance improvement. He has spent most of his career on performance improvement and quality initiatives in the hospital setting. Projects have spanned from improving revenue, decreasing hospital acquired C. diff, and redesigning an ER. Check out his LinkedIn page.


The issues in this article are just one of topic areas that are going to be discussed at the Business Transformation & Operational Excellence World Summit & Industry (BTOES19). March 18-22, 2019, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort®

BTOES is the industry’s biggest and best, senior-level, cross-industry gathering of Business Transformation & Operational Excellence industry leaders and senior executives.

It also hosts the Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Awards, which showcase globally the most outstanding organizational achievements through the application of Operational Excellence programs.

The summits hosts a number of private forums for C-Level & Global corporate-level leaders as well as business unit heads.

With over 150 speakers, over 100 sessions, 12 Keynotes, 9 Track Themes, 5 parallel tracks, 60+ track sessions, 50 roundtable discussions, 20 Interactive Workshops, 6 Thought Leader Panels, 5 Leaders Boardrooms, 5 co-located events, the Industry Awards Program, Site Visits, 20+ hours of social networking including 2 gala cocktail parties, dinners, numerous group activities, this is the ultimate event to benchmark, network and drive Operational Excellence to the next level.


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There is a strong focus on Cultural Transformation, Customer Delight, Sustaining an Operational Excellence program, Need for end-to-end Business Transformation, Keeping up with new technologies/impact of digitalization and Leadership Buy-in & Understanding. We dedicated two tracks to advanced technologies, such as AI, Machine Learning, RPA, Predictive Analytics, Blockchain, Cloud infrastructure etc.


The agenda is designed to encourage active meaningful conversations though all day enhanced networking and interaction opportunities, including

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