In Search of Effective Strategies for Cultural Change

     Because culture is often felt and not seen, what Cameron and Quinn (2011) referred to as the invisible nature of change, the goal is to learn how to correctly identify and describe culture, and now move toward our abilities as consultant to find the most appropriate lens in which to review change and to select the most appropriate strategy in which to suggest and manage a change initiative..  Our goals for this week are to look at organizations through the macro lens of both the organization as well as the micro lens—that of the view from the perspective of the individual as a factor in the process of change.

            If you were CEO at your organization, how might you begin this process of change?  Now that we have described the current ‘now’ state, and surveyed and evaluated the ‘preferred’ state—where do we begin with facilitating the change itself?  What are the elements that need to be in place —and agreed to both all stakeholders within the organization—to proceed?

            According to Weick and Sutcliffe (2001), “one of the greatest challenges to any business organization face is dealing with unexpected” (p. 1).  How do you address when something we expected to happen doesn’t or something we didn’t expect to happen does?  Weick and Sutcliffe (2001) suggest that “the most frequent problem executives reporting was “thinking and planning strategically” (p. 2).  When we look deeper into the change process isn’t this curious that often change is forced as a result of the unexpected?  Think of the events of The Great Depression, War, the events of 9/11, our current 2011 economic downturn and recession?  Why are companies seemingly being forced to change as a result of unexpected events?  Would organizations still attempt or feel change is warranted in ‘good times’?  Why then do downturns in a business cycle force the hand of executives?  Are then these downturns a good thing?  Would these changes for the better be attempted when times are good?  According to Bolman and Deal (2008), “harmonizing the frames and crafting inventive responses to new circumstances is essential to both management and leadership” (p. 312).  How do we harmonize behavior within our organizations?

Great questions for us to ponder this week.  Let’s tug on these strings a wee bit more and see where this takes us. I look forward to your thoughts.  Please share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment.  We look forward hearing from you.


Dr. Cheryl Lentz
Chief Refractive Thinker®

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Cameron, K. S., & Quinn, R. E. (2011).  Diagnosing and changing organizational culture: Based on the competing values framework.  (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.   

Deal, T. E., & Bolman, L. G. (2008). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice and leadership, (4th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Weick, K. E., & Sutcliffe, K. M. (2001). Managing the unexpected: Assuring high performance in an age of complexity. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass Inc.

September 1st, 2011 by admin

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