How to Change a Culture

When things are going well, it’s easy to take your organization’s culture for granted. When things aren’t going well, managers will often focus on some quality that they believe is deficient. They might suddenly decide, “we need to change the culture” or “we need to bring in a consultant.” Catchy slogans are developed and printed on mugs and t-shirts, an offsite is scheduled, and the topic of “culture” is suddenly on the agenda for every meeting.

But you will never change an organization’s culture just by telling employees that the culture needs to change. An offsite discussion might help you reach agreement about what is out of alignment, but it won’t create permanent change. You must do something: take deliberate action. Make real changes and communicate them — not just once, but consistently and repeatedly.

  • Is your organization’s culture in need of change?

  • What would you do to introduce change to the culture?

The attached tool can help you explore your organization’s culture, and includes an excerpt from Applied Wisdom for the NonprofitSector.

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