The Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary defines cultural change as modification of a society through innovation, invention, discovery, or contact with other societies.

Whether you are the founder, CEO, or General Manager of a franchise brand, it can be easy to sit back and congratulate yourself on a job well done when everything is flowing smoothly and the road ahead looks positive. And so you should! However, future-proofing by adapting to market needs and constantly innovating is the key to continued success. Often as part of this process, a company restructure or a major cultural shift is required to move the business to the next level.

Your organisation’s culture is deeply embedded in the psyche of your team and can be difficult to change, as culture is an interlocking set of goals, roles, processes, values, communications practices, attitudes, and assumptions that everyone knows and practices. And doubly difficult if your team has tenure and has been part of your brand through the good and the challenging times. 

Whilst it is perfectly normal to get pushback from your teams initially when promoting cultural change, being transparent with everyone about the rationale behind the expected transformation is a great start! However, be aware that this process will also identify those in the team that may not be the right fit for the new normal.

Surviving cultural change with your team intact may not be possible and your thinking as a leader must look to the best possible outcome for the brand which ultimately means the best result for your team members. If someone is unable to fulfill their role effectively, or it seems to be a poor fit for them, isn’t it in everyone’s best interests that they are a) redeployed elsewhere within the business, or b) encouraged to focus on an outside role they may be better suited for? When staff move on it can be challenging for both the leader and members of the team but more often than not, it does produce a better outcome for everyone.

How do you achieve successful cultural change? Follow the steps below:

  1. Put together your transition management dream team. Who are the members of your team most likely to be the most effective at implementing and delivering change? By choosing your lieutenants wisely, you have the best possible chance of an effortless and manageable realignment. 
  2. Communicate your plan effectively. Being transparent with your team about your strategy will alleviate concerns and allow everyone to decide if they wish to move forward with you. Remember that you have other internal stakeholders such as franchisees who also need to understand your strategy.
  3. Arrange to conduct individual skills assessments; this gives you the opportunity to form a closer bond and get a greater understanding of knowledge and achievements within your team.
  4. Preparation for team members leaving the business may be challenging, but an essential step in the process. Having difficult conversations will require planning and will involve human resources to determine the best exit strategy. Consistent communication is key.
  5. A comprehensive talent development program will provide a positive way forward for the members of the team continuing with the business. It projects a willingness on the part of management to invest in their people both professionally and personally and shows they are valued.
  6. An analysis of the suitability of the individual’s role is an excellent way to determine if it is the most accurate representation of their skills/knowledge and accelerate your business to the next level if the right people are in the right roles.
  7. Finally, review your strategy and reflect. With everything in place for the smoothest transition, it makes life easier and gives you the ability to effectively deal with any curveballs.


Need help with your cultural change strategy? Visit Franchisor Support Office and book a call with our franchise expert Soula Van Kooy today!