Culture as a dependent variable


These days, virtually every leadership team I support in driving change is finding that they are slamming right into the brick wall of culture. As the pace, scope and urgency of change are heightened like never before, there is a growing frustration that legacy cultures are holding teams back.

That’s the first frustration leaders are bumping into.

The second is that it quickly becomes excruciatingly evident that culture is the hardest thing for an organization to change. 

The third is that the minute you announce a “culture change” initiative, eyeballs start to roll in cynicism and negativity. Frankly, we’ve all been through vacuous culture change initiatives that amount to a whole lot of work (and expense) for a whole lot of nothing.

Here’s a different way to look at the challenge:

I’ve found the best first step in making progress is to think about culture as a dependent variable. Rather than trying to change culture head on, in my experience progress is made a lot faster by leaning into it. For example, changing structure (what game are we playing) and strategy (how are we playing) triggers a natural shift in culture.

For more on this, check out this short video and Culture Change Workbook.


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