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Change Management

Stop trying to change the culture

How many times have we heard politicians, commentators and senior managers say things like “what we need to do is change the culture” in response to the latest announcement of poor performance, or some blunder that has made it into the headlines?

It’s usually closely followed (or preceded) by the equally common “we will conduct a review”. I’ve written previously about some of this “culture change stuff” and the difficulty of trying to implement a “Culture Change Programme”.

This week, I read a Harvard Business Review blog on the same subject: “To change the culture, stop trying to change the culture“.  It says:

One reason these efforts are disappointing is that companies are trying to transform a whole lot of cultural dynamics all at once. We’ve found that managers get better results when they start with a few smaller successes, which then provide a basis for expanding. Start with one problem — or a few. Get some people to plan a couple of modest experiments to make progress on that issue, with guidance on the kinds of innovation you’d like to see. Build in some learning on the cultural issues that need to change. Try it out. Pay careful attention to what works and how. Incorporate the successful ideas into subsequent steps.

Absolutely spot on in my opinion!

Read more of my change articles:

You don’t need a culture change programme

Culture change in circles of 10


Are you ready for continuous improvement?




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