Achieving Culture Change

How to seize the moments that matter each and every day

In recent years, many have come to see culture change as one of the defining challenges of business. Yet changing an entrenched culture is one of the toughest tasks that businesses will face, often demonstrated by the lack of success of many such efforts.

One reason for this high failure rate is that the complexity of the challenge is seldom mirrored by the sophistication of the approach. All too often culture change, far from being strategy driven, degenerates into a set of PowerPoint slides or posters. In this paper, we seek to provide those contemplating or about to embark upon a change in certain aspects of culture, and an overview of the steps to be taken to ensure success. We adopt an approach that avoids “big bangs” based on lessons distilled from our experience in working with a wide range of companies in today’s rapidly changing environment.

Our report introduces "Jeff", a new CEO of a mid-sized printing company - and on another level someone who represents a typical CEO, in a typical firm, irrespective of industry and geography. Through candid journal entries, Jeff shares five lessons, as he embarks on a period of radical culture change. We conclude with a discussion of the practical implications of these lessons, providing tips for their effective application.

Achieving Culture Change