How to change your organization’s culture

Gerstner Quote

Editor’s Note: This post was a very popular post on Switch & Shift and was adapted to include Edgar Schein’s personal meeting room video.

It’s like being lost in the wilderness if you initiate any major change effort in your organization without specifically knowing how cultures effectively evolve or change. It’s one of the greatest leadership challenges, but few truly understand how cultures evolve.

Why don’t most people know how cultures evolve or change?

Culture is a hot topic and it’s all over the popular press whether it’s guidance on “creating” a great culture or coverage of the latest culture crisis.

Lessons from the VA…leaders get your houses in order

Speak and listen quote

New information about the inadequacies of leadership at the U.S. Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers continues to be revealed daily. The headlines astound, “Bad VA care may have killed more than 1,000 veterans, senator’s report says.” In summary, for years the wait times reported by many medical centers in the management system for measuring effectiveness were simply false. As a result, veterans have not been served well and most everyone is outraged.

GM Culture Crisis Case Study – A Tragedy and Missed Opportunity

jack_welch Change

The following thorough post is a combination of two prior guest posts to Switch & Shift plus additional updates after Mary Barra’s second appearance before a House subcommittee.

The Background

The GM ignition switch recall tragedy led to at least 13 deaths and was the result of 11 years of failure on many levels.  It’s a live case study on a sad culture crisis we all can and must learn from since culture is the most powerful force in organizations.  Rarely do we have a chance to pull back the covers and see a culture with some serious dysfunction from an organization that still accomplishes amazing work on a global scale in spite of it all.

Overcome Fear – It’s a Disease and the Ultimate Culture Killer

Dash King

Most of us experience fear in some form in the workplace nearly every day.  Some is completely natural due to uncertainty about raising a problem, idea or opinion. In other cases, fear leads to tragic consequences as employees resist speaking up or “acting on what they know.” Fear is the ultimate culture killer and was the subject of a top 50 post on TLNT last year titled The 8 Clear Signs of a Workplace Culture of Fear.  So how do you overcome fear and take action that will benefit your organization?

Why You Must Manage Culture – or Face the Tragic Consequences

Culture Crisis

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on and TLNT.  It was used to populate CultureU for its launch.

Culture is clearly a powerful force, but it’s unfortunately being used as an excuse for disasters ranging from the banking crisis five years ago to the Fukushima nuclear disaster and even the locker room hazing crisis of the Miami Dolphins.

If culture is a contributing cause to so many disasters then it’s especially concerning considering the recent Booz & Company survey where 96 percent of respondents felt culture change was needed in their organization and 51 percent felt a major culture overhaul was needed.

What crisis is next and could there be a disaster looming in your organization?