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.
On a recent bright Minnesota morning, tucked into one of the thousands of conference rooms across the state, a management team sat somberly. Several weeks earlier they had participated in a meaningful retreat with key employees and clients, rediscovering and clarifying their vision, values, and goals for the organization. Spirits were high that day and energy seemed to crackle as it moved about the room, fueled by the vision of what they wanted to create. Now, however, new developments in corporate politics made the vision seem nigh on impossible, and the group was about to surrender in defeat, once again melting into the mediocrity of organizational bureaucracy.
After 30 years of working in global corporate organizations as an organization development professional, there is not much I have not come across. I retired from my corporate roles a couple of years ago and now work as an independent consultant. I have learned a lot from my experiences and would like to share one of my most valuable learnings.