How to change a culture in an organisation

When looking at why organisations are in a mess, or if not in a mess, not as healthy as they could be, a common problem is culture.  So much flows from it and no matter what other solutions are put in place, culture will continue to determine the future.  For example, new structures, new mission statements and new role titles will change little in an organisation if there is a toxic culture that is telling a different story.

This naturally leads to the question of how culture can be changed.  In an article at HBR.org, they tackle this subject.  The first thing to note is that completely changing an organisational culture is not going to happen.  Indeed, it is probably not even desirable.  Instead it is best to look for a few key elements that need to change.  Here is an overview of their process, but the full article is well worth a read:

  1. Find a theme
  2. Don’t claim victory too soon
  3. Enlist the help of informal leaders
  4. Remember that cultural forces don’t go away
  5. Start now
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