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The question is how do we leverage the best of what Culture provides or reshape it to eliminate the worst of what It creates?  I believe that using the language of People rather than Business is the place to start.

  1. Take a long view.  See Culture as something that has evolved over time and will require time to transform.   Exercise patience.
  2. Take small steps when asking human beings to do things differently.  The more new tasks can be broken into bite sizes, the more people can master one thing and move onto the next thing.  We can’t change lots of stuff at one time.
  3. Be intentional about shaping Culture.  Without conscious planning about what type of environment you want to create, Culture will do the job for you…even if the results are not what you had in mind.
  4. Offer praise on the small successes.  We need reinforcement to gain competence on the New Thing.  Without it we will stall.
  5. Be consistent.  Culture will know if the rules only apply to some and not all.  Without mutual expectations over an extended period of time applied equally across the board Culture won’t budge.
  6. Lead by example.  I mean it!  If leaders don’t consistently demonstrate the desired changes Culture will call your bluff.
  7. State clearly, simply and continuously what you want people to do differently.  If you stop communicating before the change has occurred Culture won’t believe you still mean it.
  8. Engage in compassionate firmness.  Listen to people’s concerns and complaints without rolling your eyes or being dismissive.  Acknowledge their difficulties and then restate the desired change.
  9. Create a critical mass.  Reach out to allies wherever they sit who are more likely to be early adapters and co-creators.  Once they become the majority it is harder for the minority to sustain its position.
  10. Change the recognition system to reward new behaviors.  Culture will change when it is praised, acknowledged or paid to do so.

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