I can’t tell you the countless times I’ve heard an executive say “In order to help us you’ve got to know our culture. We know it best; you’ll never understand.” True, each organization has its own history, but their problems are often the same.
A hospital may have a different mission than a financial firm, but they frequently face the same issues in terms of leaders who don’t act as they should. Understanding culture takes time, close study, and an ability to listen. What’s truly hard though is figuring out how to change that culture.
Changing culture requires senior leaders to consistently emphasize the right themes and should give the entire workforce a rationale for changing their daily behavior. This sustained and comprehensive approach is what leads to real culture change.