Don’t Worry If You Get Culture Change Wrong

In the third phase of our work with culture consulting clients, we help them develop a “playbook” of action steps that will start to intentionally bring their culture in greater alignment with what makes them successful as an organization. When they get to this stage, I can tell they are feeling some pressure.

They’re sitting there with a blank template in front of them, trying to figure out exactly what they should do to improve their culture, and it feels like a daunting task. How do they know if the action steps they come up with are going to work? What if they don’t push hard enough? Or too hard? What if they get it wrong?

Here’s the good news: you don’t have to be 100% correct right out of the gate. All you need is to actually DO something, and then commit to paying close attention to whether or not it’s working. Culture change is an iterative process. You do things, and then you examine to see if what you’ve done is generating the kind of behavior that will move the needle on your success. If it’s not, then maybe you put that play on the back burner and bring a new one in. Or maybe you make some changes to the play, in response to what you’re seeing.

In culture change, every day is a new day, and a new opportunity to adjust the way you run your organization in ways that strengthen the culture. So don’t worry if you get it wrong sometimes—that’s normal—the problem is when you hold back and don’t try anything out of fear of failure. That’s the one way to guarantee your culture won’t get better.

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