Changing corporate culture – step one

Understanding the culture around us

The way people interact within your company – expectations, norms and taboos are a result of years of interactions between people, management styles and organizational structure.  Changing the status quo of an established corporate culture is not an easy task.

The very first step in cultural change (and one that’s often overlooked), is understanding the current culture.  As an employee, we may think we already understand the culture around us.  As an organizational change agent, we realize that we know the culture from one perspective only—our own.  Without an understanding of how the corporate culture is architected from the perspective of the people working inside it, we cannot succeed.

Start the change initiative by doing an organizational analysis.  Who are the people that will be most affected by the change?  From the eyes of these individuals, what does the organization look like?  Will these people feel empowered or threatened by the intended change?  Where does the ability to influence these people lie?

Once you understand these questions, you can begin to develop a plan for bringing these individuals from the current state to the future state of the corporate culture.