Agile Corporate Culture Change

In “The Corporate Culture Survival Guide”, Edgar H. Schein describes a method for implementing culture change in corporations. He says:

As the change team works on the ideal state and the present state [of the corporate culture], it probably has to periodically redefine the change problem in terms of the gap or gaps identified. In other words, though the process is a set of steps undertaken in sequence, there are many feedback loops that force going back to earlier steps to guarantee clear thinking. . . .

As various gaps are identified in concrete form, it becomes apparent where cultural assumptions aid or hinder the change agenda. For example, having sales teams work together on big accounts may sound simple until it is discovered that the organization’s individualistic culture prevents changing the incentive system to a group-based compensation program. The change program then has to shift to examining how to change some of the individualistic assumptions; this might entail an entirely new change program not previously thought about at all.

In other words, expect and embrace changes in understanding brought about by learning from work performed. Deliver corporate culture change work iteratively. Plan corporate change adaptively.

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