Change Whisperer – Gail Severini, Symphini Change Management Inc.


Dilemma: can you, should you, attempt to change your organization’s culture? Thoughts?

Okay, this is an experiment at crowdsourcing solutions … here’s the dilemma:

  • we all know that culture is a “challenge”  for our current change initiative, Program or Project (let’s be clear this is a euphemism!)
  • BUT addressing culture was never raised in the business case or in the initial Program scoping
  • quite possibly whoever brings it up now takes a big career risk
  • What do we do – do we talk about the elephant in the room or sweep it under the rug?

Please share your thoughts by commenting.  I will summarize and share mine back in a couple of days here or on a related post – don’t want to miss it … you can subscribe by email at the top left.

What do you think?


6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Hi Gail,

I tend to look at the culture as part of the risk assessment. For me, I certainly do not have the power to change the culture of the business so I plan to work with the current culture.

Changing culture is such a big can o’ worms and normally I don’t get the luxury of time and resources. Therefore working with the current state of culture is my best bet.

Comment by Juanita

Thanks for commenting Juanita.

We see this often also. Organizations are unwilling to open what they see as a Pandora’s box – might rather settle for eroded ROI.

Do others find this specific to project / program change (that might have already been business cased?)

Comment by Gail Severini ©

Hi Gail,

While there are so many factors that push us as leaders to want to ignore the elephant in the room, my experience would say that the elephant will not be content to sit quietly. Borrowing the words of a colleague, “culture trumps strategy every time.” We may not be able to change it quickly, but we certainly need to understand it and how to work within it.

Comment by Raymond Manninen

Thanks for your input Ray. Great seeing you yesterday. I look forward to reading your points of view on governance.

Comment by Gail Severini ©

Hi Gail:

I’m a bit tardy on responding to this topic. This past year I have received several inquiries by large organizations implementing culture change initiatives! There are variations in cultures in different departments… and the need to change the culture in order to change the model is critical.

We will be seeing more of this type of culture change… departmental culture changes rather than the entire organizational culture. Tiny bites of the elephant at a time.

Comment by Tamara

I agree. We are seeing similar trends in the market. Thanks for commenting. Gail

Comment by Gail Severini ©




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