Cultural Change That Sticks

Many organisations underestimate the breadth of change that moving to an Agile culture creates and how challenging it is to create cultural change that sticks .Traditional work practices, behaviours and habits like micro managing, siloed working and top down leadership is replaced by semi-autonomous teams, tapping into the wisdom at the coal face, response flexibility and much more. These are significant shifts in culture and time and again we see old, inflexible cultures negatively impacting the parts of the business that have moved to an Agile way of doing things. There has to be a better way.

This Harvard Business Review article by Jon R. Katzenbach shines the spotlight on cultural change. Jon argues persuasively that culture change work should be a first priority even as you clarify your strategy, it should be a first resort not a last resort. His five key principles are critical to successful cultural change and we believe they should be a pre-cursor to any Agile implementation.

What’s most intriguing about this article is that it shows that what we believe to be the best way to change a culture (out with the old, in with the new) is not correct. Like everything with human behaviour at an individual or collective level, the answer is more nuanced. Success comes from a blended approach.

Intrigued? Read more here