Strange Ways that Organizations Change their Culture

Consultants do not change organizational culture. Consultants and management can change the way that things are done, and as a result culture is perceived as having changed. But there are much faster and different  ways that culture changes. Here are a few.

  • Get a major customer in Japan. This will drive a positive change in customer focus, product quality, and the creation of a long term account strategy.
  • Get heavily fined. If the court slaps a crippling fine on an organization for any one of many infringements, culture changes much more quickly. This works incredibly well especially if the management team is arrogant and self-serving.
  • Be acquired. If an organization is acquired, its culture is usually decimated with a few months to a few years. Cultures die upon acquisition.
  • Massive failures drive cultural change. This includes loss of major clients, severe prolonged fall in stock price or military defeat.
  • Departure or death of a founder. Departing dominant founders who fail to produce the next generation of leadership (especially but not only in family businesses) will trigger a rapid change of culture, not necessarily for the better.

Sadly, companies hire consultants to change culture and it always, always fails, unless external factors are leveraged to harness the change.

Share Button

4 thoughts on “Strange Ways that Organizations Change their Culture

  1. Major fines may or may not change culture. In the US many companies (pharma, banks) accept that at some point they will be fined – and even when the fines seem huge to the average citizen they are simply a drop in the bucket relative to their profits. Little changes.

  2. Brilliant! Will share with some culture change consultants I know.

    Would you be interested in co-writing a book with me. I’ve done a lot but your touch would put it over the top.

  3. Allon, I can relate to this post! Especially “cultures die upon acquisition.” I was there, a few times. Each of your points could be a chapter in Gita’s book. Let me know and I will contribute a horror story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.