Toxic cultures drive poor performance, claims Amnis

From: Amnis Ltd
Published: Fri Feb 05 2010

From its many years of experience of working with a wide range of organisations, Amnis believes that toxic cultures - which can be identified as having a general lack of respect for people, a strong people hierarchy, discord in the senior team and disengaged managers - are significantly affecting performance in some healthcare organisations.

Amnis’ work in the healthcare sector has shown that the key to long-term change is to tackle the barriers that toxic cultures can create by:
1. Ensuring that the words that your top team use are aligned with how they behave
2. Tackling any ‘tribal’ thinking and promoting team working
3. Adopting an effective structure for implementing change that engages front-line teams
4. Celebrating every success but accepting the occasional failure

Amnis’ Mark Eaton explained: "It is as important to tackle an underlying toxic culture as it is to have a well thought out transformation strategy - and far more important than getting on with tactical improvement programmes using Lean Rapid Improvement Events - if you want to instigate real and lasting change."

Characteristically, organisations with toxic cultures will struggle to change behaviours and improve performance. Moreover they will find that any investment they make in Lean or other transformation programmes will not lead to long-term improved performance, warned Eaton.

He added: "Toxic cultures also facilitate decreased patient safety and foster other risks to the organisation. Consequently, it’s not just financial performance that will suffer as a result of an organisation experiencing a toxic culture."

In association with the Institute of Healthcare Management (IHM), Amnis is running a series of masterclasses for healthcare professionals. Toxic cultures – and how to overcome them by instituting a supportive culture – featured in the recent masterclass on ‘Developing a Culture of Continuous Improvement’.

According to Amnis’ Mark Eaton, who is also the author of the book ‘Lean for practitioners’: "Basing improvement initiatives on the concepts of ‘Lean’ and ‘Lean Sigma’ – basically, doing more with less – is a sound principle but, for this to succeed, you need to change people’s working culture and behaviours as well as processes."

The next masterclass in the Amnis/IHM series is on ‘Thinking Strategically’, and is being held in Birmingham on 26th February 2010.


About Amnis Limited

Working with both public and private sector organisations, Amnis is a consultancy which specialises in innovation, transformation and organisational improvement, helping clients plan and deploy strategies for successful transformation. Its goal is to help clients not only deliver sustainable change but also to develop their capability to tackle their next challenges.

Providing both consultancy and training services, Amnis’ team includes specialists in Lean/Six Sigma, organisational development, strategic planning, change management and systems thinking.

Further information from:

Ruth Bodman, Amnis, 00 44 (0) 870 446 1002;
Bob Little, Bob Little Press & PR, 00 44 (0)1727 860405;

Company: Amnis Ltd
Contact Name: Bob Little
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: +44 (0)1727 860405

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