Thursday, March 28, 2013


Making the commitment to change the culture of an organization is a bold step. It requires the courage to publicly say that you are not satisfied with how things operate today, and that a change is not only on a wish list, but that it is now mandatory. That is a bold step.

Leaders First
I've had the opportunity one other time in my career to embark on an intentional culture change initiative. It was a long process that ultimately resulted in the desired change. Lots of hard work, and new behaviors particularly from leadership, were the key drivers of the shift. From my perspective, the employees were eager to improve the company, they simply needed leadership that not only articulated the desired change, but simultaneously included the employees while they proved they could walk the walk. Many leaders struggle with this balancing act.

HR's Role
One of the great advantages of working in Human Resources is that we see the entire organization, not just the "department" we're assigned. Couple that perspective with the insight we have from dealing with issues across the enterprise and suddenly human resources is perfectly positioned to be an effective disruptive force for change.

Let me say that again...

"Human Resources is perfectly positioned to be an effective disruptive force for change."

When was the last time you heard that? More importantly, when did you believe it? Never, that's when.

Next Steps Are Hard
As the journey begins it is essential that HR leadership buys in to the vision of how great the organization can become. Not because they're supposed to, but because our organizations are full of bright employees who can see through bureaucratic doublespeak faster than an old school command and control leader can spit it out.

If HR is going to play a central role in the change effort, then HR has to change how it normally behaves, works, interacts, and challenges others. That can be scary. Welcome to the real world! Positive change does not come about because we all simply work harder.

The results we want to achieve are realized because we literally change how we work. Are you able to stop preaching about change and start adopting it in your HR practice?

If the organization is going to achieve the results necessary, human resources (and I submit all of the leaders who plan on staying with the institution) will have to change. The status quo + maximum effort is no longer a viable option.

How About You
Do you see yourself as a disruptive force for change? Or, do you see yourself holding others accountable for not buying into the culture change initiative using your same old approach?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


1 comment:

  1. Hi Jay, a great post... I've come across the Frontier Project in the US and the CIPD Hackathon and Richard Branson's Business Plan in the UK that are talking about these issues...

    Have you seen much in the way of meaningful action around these issues?