So You Want To Change the Culture?

Many find a new corporate culture attractive and try to make it so. Before starting that journey, there are a couple of prior changes you may find helpful: the Semmelweis Reflex & Donald Rumsfield’s U.S. Department of Defense update for Special Forces.

Ignaz Semmelweis was a pioneer to champion hand-washing as a standard part of medical treatment in 1847. Twenty years later Louis Pasteur postulated the germ theory, which sped things along. Semmelweis had hard data to support the change, but the resistance to change was massive. Consider the suffering & loss of life before this simple change had wide-spread adaption!

It has been said that science advances one obituary at a time, meaning as the old critters die off, the young replacements aren’t so wedded to the “proven” ways. From a change of culture perspective, one can counter the Semmelweis Reflex with natural attrition.

United States armed forces started building “Special Ops” forces after the Iranian Hostage crisis in the mid-1970’s. The very top brass resisted in many ways over many years in developing these units into what we now take for granted.

Donald Rumsfield didn’t have the patience to wait for natural attrition. As the Secretary of Defense, he had the vision & drive to affect the change in leadership that could bring about this change. It took a couple of years, but he was able to bring in the correct leadership to get the job done.

Culture change can be accomplished in both ways, however I like a quote from my friend, Erik:

“You can change people or you can change people. I prefer to change people!”

It’s up to you.

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So You Want To Change the Culture?

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