“We have to change our culture” is spoken by more management personnel today than ever. What undergirds this statement is the realization that culture change is required in order to adapt to changes in the marketplace. As Jack Welch, past CEO of IBM said: “When the rate of change outside exceeds the rate of change inside the end is in sight.”
As necessary as it is for an organization to change, it is not easy and often times unsuccessful because leaders fail to understand change in its entirety. To change an organization is to address both the climate (behaviors) and culture (processes). The late Dr. Göran Ekvall of the Creative Problem Solving Group defined climate as the attitudes, feelings, and behaviors of workers. The common definition of culture consists of three facets: 1. Its beliefs, values and assumptions; 2. How/if the organization learns; and 3. The rate of adoption of new values and beliefs. The climate and culture of the organization must be addressed for change efforts to succeed. Professor emeritus Geert Hofstede’s description of culture as the software of the mind provides an effective segue for describing our approach to culture change.
The general recommended steps for successful change are shown in Figure 1 (below) – Culture Change Process, and listed under Our Approach.