When culture and change meet, culture always wins.
Lasting success lies in changing individuals first; then the organization follow. And organization changes only as far or as fast as its collective individual change.
To strategically change your organization, you must first change the individuals. Too often, change fails because we don’t start with the individuals.
To change, individuals within an organization have to redraw their mental maps. If people are not remapped then they cannot break through the brain barrier of exchanging the old, familiar way of doing things and embrace the new, change.
There are many things that go into this. But suffice it to say, if an organization’s culture is punitive and full of self-serving silos, the probability of creating successful change become very low.
Why? In a punitive culture where mistakes are highlighted the focus is on who is right, not what is right. Therefore, any change initiative will be met with resistance by the individuals involved because they are being asked to do something new, and in their minds poorly, until they get proficient enough to become good.
In this type of culture, who wants to take the chance? The answer is virtually no one. And when no one will take the risk to change, change fails. When change fails the organization is on a path to irrelevancy. It is on a race to the bottom.
Encourage a culture of rewarding initiative and calculated risk. Create a culture that is open to change. That is the only way to reverse the race to the bottom and turn it into a race to the top.