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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Love

Culture change is about playing the long game

One of the things I’ve learned over my 10+ years in HR, is that change occurs through small incremental changes over time.

It’s not about one big “silver bullet” that changes a culture, it’s about consistent responsibility and accountability in the direction of desired behaviours.

It starts with leadership. If you are trying to enforce a behaviour, and you have people in positions of power that demonstrate behaviour in the opposite direction, it’s going to immediately undermine the behaviour you’re attempting to reinforce.

People follow what you do, not what you say. If you or your leaders behave in a way that’s incongruent to what you are trying to achieve in your organisation, then you are giving permission for them to do the same.

It’s about consistently making the small tweaks to the desired behaviour, over time that’s going to create sustainable change for the future.

People hate change. And trying to change learned behaviour overnight is like trying to change the direction of a cruise ship with a dingy. Not impossible, but hard, slow work.

It’s like reinforcing boundaries. Anyone can put in a boundary; it’s maintaining it that’s the hard part. And as soon as you consistently let that boundary slide, the less likely it is to stick.

It’s the same for athletes. Do you think after a loss they dramatically change their entire approach? No! They analyse and make small tweaks over time that improves their game.

My advice? Decide on what you want to change in your organisational culture, get everyone to agree to the standard and hold people accountable. You may not see immediate change, but you will see a change over time.

Culture change is about playing the long game. Small incremental changes over time is what has the biggest impact.

Contact us to find out how we can support you to implement small changes over time that will have the biggest impact on your desired organisational culture.

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