How do experts shape culture? 6 key insights from Jon Katzenbach.

One of the giant thinkers on organizational culture is Jon Katzenbach. I’ve set up a Google alert for any of his work on organizational culture.  Periodically, I go back and review some of his insights on organizations and organizational culture. I’ve summarized 6 insights from an article he wrote on organizational culture and change

1. The existing culture can be a powerful source of energy and influence for behavior change. Culture is rarely “all bad”.

2. If you don’t have to overhaul or replace a culture, don’t! A deeply embedded culture does not change very much, very fast. Moreover, a major culture replacement requires extensive programs and structural redesign.

3. Start with changing behaviors, not mindsets. It is much easier to “act your way into new thinking” than to “think your way into new actions.”

4. Focus on changing only the few critical behaviors at different levels within key populations. This is less disruptive than attempting wholesale change — and certainly more manageable and sustainable over time.

5. Use viral (i.e., cross-organizational) methods to motivate behavior change, not just formal top-down programmatic methods. Storytelling social media, and informal tools enable and accelerate formal change methods.

6. Mobilize both rational and emotional forces to reinforce the new behavior patterns and achieve lasting change. Both the rational and the emotional elements need to “jump together” to yield sustainable change.

To what extent do you agree with his perspectives on culture and change?