Flourishing Culture

Don’t Forget the Culture

November 9, 2017


Organizations default to their strong suits when they are forced to change. They focus on their content (what they are going to do) and their processes (how they will get the work done). An example of this can be seen right now. Accounts of sexual harassment in Hollywood and the media have prompted Congress to re-examine their systems. Legislation has been introduced to fix the Office of Compliance, which handles harassment complaints; to make sexual harassment training mandatory; and to hold people accountable. Another example is the organizational change work done at Ecolab. As the company grew through acquisitions, its customer-centric culture was affected. Mr. Baker, the CEO, implemented training and reward programs to course correct. Notwithstanding the importance of these approaches, I believe they do not address the culture. It will be hard to stop sexual harassment when in the wider society people share beliefs that “it’s okay to objectify women” and “to let boys be boys.” And at Ecolabs, it takes time to transition from a workforce that is told what to do to a workforce of self-starters. Adding a focus on the cultural root cause would help both these examples and others to manage expectations and expedite the desired change.







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