Change by Example

One of the questions that has been on my mind lately has been how do you change the culture at a company or team? It can be a daunting task, especially in company that has been around for some time and is set in its ways.

I find that people are willing to talk about culture change but when it comes down to doing something about it, the action items get lost in the shuffle, deliverables and client commitments get priority, and the discussion fades away.

It can be discouraging when you feel like the ideas get lost on deaf ears and all the talk just leads to false starts. However, after a discussion with some colleagues, I am starting to think that culture change isn’t a plan; it’s a set of habits that form over time.

Start with something as simple. For instance, if you don’t feel like your company properly recognizes individual contributions, take a moment to thank a person publicly for some work that they’ve done. Another day, take a moment to thank a different person. Form the habit with yourself first.

The hope is that it will catch on with others and they will start doing it as well, forming the habit for themselves. As more and more people form the habit, it becomes part of the culture.

It’s going to be slow and will require a lot of patience but by developing the process of creating those habits, you create a path to changing the culture of your company/team.