Blog

Can you really change culture?

There is a quote from Seth Godin I love so much that I have it in my email signature. Every single time a message leaves my outbox, so does the quote. 

It says: "We can't change the culture, but each of us has the opportunity to change a culture, our little pocket of the world."

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Tweet 5 1

twitter01 07

What Seth means by that is that there is no universal culture, no “us” that defines everyone and everything. Not in a nation, not in an organisation, not in a team, not even in a family. 

Ed Schein said almost the same thing in our interview:

 

You should never talk about the culture; it’s silly. It’s like saying: What is the culture of Italy? There are just too many elements to that culture.

 

It’s ironic but true - putting the definite article in front of “culture” makes it terribly indefinite and vague; using the indefinite “a”, allows us to zoom in on something meaningfully specific. 

Culture change can and does work but only if we have the clarity, the insight, the determination and the courage to stop focusing on “the” culture and to pick “a” culture - a meaningfully specific aspect of the whole.

So, next time you feel tempted to say something like: “We need to change the culture in our team (or company or society)", try asking: 

  • What are we trying to accomplish? 
  • Which elements of our culture help us do that? 
  • Which elements hinder us from accomplishing what's truly important? 
  • What is the one element of our culture that, if changed, would make all the difference to our ability to bring our vision of success to life? 

As Seth says: “That’s how we make change. By caring enough to want to change a culture, and being brave enough to pick just one.”

 

Copy of Copy of Tweet 1 1

twitter01 07

Topic: Culture, Culture Evolution, Team Culture

Want more tips on evolving culture?

Subscribe to my newsletter, the CultureLab Insider, and get the new blog posts, podcast episodes and other free resources delivered to your inbox every Tuesday.

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT ME?

I’m a culture strategist and I work with leaders
and teams around the globe to help them create
a culture that brings their  boldest vision to life.

  • I love spending time with my husband and my friends, reading, walking in the park near my home, dancing Argentinian tango and traveling. My two favourite places on Earth are Venice in Italy and the Serengeti in Africa.

  • I love spending time with my husband and my friends, reading, walking in the park near my home, dancing Argentinian tango and traveling. My two favourite places on Earth are Venice in Italy and the Serengeti in Africa.

  • I love spending time with my husband and my friends, reading, walking in the park near my home, dancing Argentinian tango and traveling. My two favourite places on Earth are Venice in Italy and the Serengeti in Africa.

  • I love spending time with my husband and my friends, reading, walking in the park near my home, dancing Argentinian tango and traveling. My two favourite places on Earth are Venice in Italy and the Serengeti in Africa.

  • I love spending time with my husband and my friends, reading, walking in the park near my home, dancing Argentinian tango and traveling. My two favourite places on Earth are Venice in Italy and the Serengeti in Africa.

  • I love spending time with my husband and my friends, reading, walking in the park near my home, dancing Argentinian tango and traveling. My two favourite places on Earth are Venice in Italy and the Serengeti in Africa.

  • I love spending time with my husband and my friends, reading, walking in the park near my home, dancing Argentinian tango and traveling. My two favourite places on Earth are Venice in Italy and the Serengeti in Africa.

  • I love spending time with my husband and my friends, reading, walking in the park near my home, dancing Argentinian tango and traveling. My two favourite places on Earth are Venice in Italy and the Serengeti in Africa.

  • I love spending time with my husband and my friends, reading, walking in the park near my home, dancing Argentinian tango and traveling. My two favourite places on Earth are Venice in Italy and the Serengeti in Africa.

  • I love spending time with my husband and my friends, reading, walking in the park near my home, dancing Argentinian tango and traveling. My two favourite places on Earth are Venice in Italy and the Serengeti in Africa.

© 2017 Aga Bajer. All Rights Reserved.
Website Designed & Developed by webarts

Let me guess: you are here because we met in real life, someone you trust mentioned my name or you’ve seen one of my posts on social media.

Whatever brought you here, I’m thrilled that you’ve come around.

This site is where I share useful resources, information and thoughts about what’s widely considered a somewhat nebulous and complex topic:
the organisational culture - and things related to it.

If you work in an organisation, your culture is probably the most powerful force shaping yours and your organisation’s future. And yet, you are probably still not clear about how to deal with it in the most effective way.

My mission is to demystify organisational culture, to make it more accessible and less overwhelming in its complexity.

I hope that what you find here will help to do just that!