At its core, the role of a Change Agent in culture change is to help leaders solve problems. Big problems, small problems. It begins with steady efforts to facilitate change that accrue into a collective transformation—change that takes place over time. It is more like a journey than a race. And the more stakeholders who join this journey, the better.
I recently attended the Ultimate Culture Conference, produced by Human Synergistics. I was blown away by the amount of “real talk” by the expert speakers and panelists. From enabling growth culture, to creating positive change and humble leadership, there was one consistent theme throughout the conference: transformation. At one point, I heard someone ask: “What if changing 30 percent of one thing could improve 100 percent of everything?”
To my fellow entrepreneurs, take a look around. At the way things run. At the revenue stream. At the systems in place. From how you conduct business to the end result, is what you’re doing really working?
What do you think when you hear the words “culture change”? More important, what do your baseline employees—the women and men who get the essential and routine work done—think when they’re first introduced to organizational culture change?
From our experience, here’s how many react: “Oh, great… another bunch of buzzwords and another round of change, none of which will affect my job. I’ll just smile and nod.”
And yet the simple reality is culture change—real, sustainable change—best occurs when our frontline workers accept change as a positive move for them. After all, no one wants to have change happen to them. Or worse yet, to become a victim when change comes at them. Instead, they want to be part of the solution. The most inspired or motivated take it a step further: They want to be involved actively in the change plan.
Blatant discrimination is now a much rarer phenomenon in the workplace than it used to be. Since the introduction of modern legislative policies (i.e., affirmative action in the USA and the Employment Equity Act in Canada), along with the increased awareness of social justice, issues pertaining to systematic or blatant discrimination in the workplace have decreased in the last decades.1
Edgar Schein: Insights from the Fifth Edition of Organizational Culture and Leadership
Edgar Schein and the subject of organizational culture are forever linked due to his pioneering efforts in the field. His hallmark book, Organizational Culture and Leadership1, has been a resource for more than 30 years. Ed shared insights from an upcoming fifth edition (now released) of this important book during an interview at the Human Synergistics Ultimate Culture Conference.