Culture change through
Amanda Singleton
Group Executive: Corporate Communication
Challenges facing SA leaders
Satisfying shareholders
Launching into the global arena
and also
Attending to the diverse
needs of a complex network
of stakeholders
Addressing local
transformation challenges
Telkom’s evolution
1996 Licensed
(with a 5-year exclusivity)
under new Telecoms Act
1997 Partial privatisation
2002 End of exclusivity
1991 Commercialisation
2003 IPO
2004 Competition
Why is corporate culture so important?
To survive and prosper in a ever-changing environment,
adaptability is key
SA industries need more than gradual adjustment to changing
circumstances; we need to shift paradigms
The central challenge: to create and lead an adaptive enterprise
Why is corporate culture so important?
No CEO can single-handedly make changes to an organisation’s
genetic code
Lasting organisational transformation requires a change in people
– A fundamental shift in ‘the way we do things around here’
– Corporate culture change is a prerequisite for successful business
Culture is important:
– because it powerfully influences the behaviour of employees
– because it is difficult to change and
– because its near invisibility makes it hard to address directly
The emergence of culture
Group Interaction
Positive Results
Norms of Behaviour
Shared Values
A strong corporate culture = values widely shared amongst employees
The value of common values
• Values provide the roadmap to the vision
– shape the culture needed to realise the vision
• Values mould the behaviour – defines the corporate culture
• Corporate Culture should accommodate multi culturalism
– Umbrella for diverse cultures, languages, backgrounds and
national norms
• Values have value only when:
– they are commonly understood
– they are unanimously subscribed to
– they are lived by everyone
Telkom’s value system
• We value people and their diversity
• We are performance driven
• We are customer focused
• We create shareholder value
• We are a model corporate citizen
• We act with integrity in everything we do
The strategic fit
communication communication communication
(to be)
Current situation
“As is”
A Telkom example
– To be a world-class communication company
Strategic Goal:
– To invest in our employees
– We value our people and their diversity
Behaviour needed:
No stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination in the workplace
Fair recruitment, an appreciation for the EE imperative
Making full use of the skills of all employees
Open communication on development needs
Regular discussions on performance and improvement areas
Coaching, mentoring and personal development
Creation of opportunities for personal growth
Retention of critical skills
Changing corporate culture
1. Articulate the company’s vision as a concise word picture describing
what the organisation aspires to become
Keep it simple, motivational and realistic
2. Develop enterprise strategy as “what to focus on” in achieving the
3. Design a set of values
4. Identify behaviours needed from management and employees to
execute strategy
5. Communicate all of this in coherent and compelling ways
6. Drive for total contextualisation down to an individual level
The role of every line manager is key
Leadership is critical
Committed leadership and clearly defined corporate
values distinguish major cultural changes that succeed,
from those that fail.
The single most visible factor that distinguishes major
cultural changes that succeed from those that fail is
competent leadership at the top … .
Only with leadership does one get the boldness, the
vision and the energy needed to create large and difficult
changes …
John P. Kotter & James L. Heskett
What culture change demands of
Executive Leadership
1. Conceptual Leadership
• Chief sense makers for the organisation
– Providing insights about the business and markets
• The ability to provide direction – defining a vision
• The ability to bring vision to reality
– Creating strategy to close the gap between vision and current reality
• The skill to reconnect organisational life with organisational
– “Where are we going and why”;
– “What is our company’s role in society”;
– “What is the context and meaning of this change in strategic
“Without vision, direction and a sense of
purpose, it’s difficult to harness the energy,
passion, commitment, and perseverance
needed to transform”
What culture change demands of
Executive Leadership
2. Personal Commitment
• Leadership is in the first place, PERSONAL
• Leadership is about truly living the company’s values
• Leadership is setting an example, being a role model
• Leadership is consistency between what is SAID and DONE.
“One of the most important ways executives
can demonstrate their commitment and
credibility comes through how they work
within their own teams”
What culture change demands of
Executive Leadership
3. Communication
• Effective communication is the oxygen for new-breed leadership
• Communication is not one-directional
– Engage strategically
– Listen hard
– Create an environment that allows candid feedback/ criticism
• Communication needs to be regular
– In good times and bad
– Never skip scheduled engagements
• Communication has to be open and honest
– Own up: take personal responsibility for hard decisions
– Resist the urge to spin – it always backfires
“People need to hear directly from the leader”
The time has come . . .
For leaders to step forward and show real leadership