Berger Leadership Blog

May 22, 2015

Changing your organization's culture

Business plan

I like how Michael Hyatt describes corporate culture and the challenge of changing it: “The problem is that culture is largely invisible to those inside of it. It’s like water to a fish or air to a bird. It’s simply the environment we live in.”

When we notice this environment needs to be changed in our own organizations, how do we, as leaders, go about it? Hyatt gives six steps, but he acknowledges that based on his own experience, such change is not immediate and may not be apparent for more than a year. His steps for leaders trying to effect change include:

  1. Become aware of the culture. Hyatt encourages us to pay attention to the ways our employees express themselves and talk about their successes and failures.
  2. Assess your current culture. Create three lists: What should stay? What should go? And what is missing?
  3. Envision a new culture. Rather than complain about the current culture, dream of what the culture could be.
  4. Share the vision with everyone. And keep sharing.
  5. Get alignment from your leadership team. Your leadership team needs to do more than just agree with your vision; they need to change as well.
  6. Model the culture you want to create. “The culture of a company is the behavior of its leaders,” Hyatt says.

Like anything else, to change the culture of your organization, you must be intentional … and patient.