The need for culture change is not an admission that your culture is broken or that the way your business has been operating has been wrong. It is simply an acknowledgement that success in the future will require different ways of working. Certain elements of today’s culture must change if you wish to be successful tomorrow.

“When you are on top of your game – change your game.” *

But how to change?

Phase 1: Analysis

If you wish to future-proof your culture (and therefore your business), you must start with asking the tough questions – identifying why and what to change.

  • Understanding – and believing – that the need to change is real. Acknowledging that change is necessary if we wish to be successful in the future.
  • Identifying the ‘Magic‘ that we must retain to be successful.
  • Identifying the ‘Sacred Cows’. The “this is how we have always done it” elements that need to be questioned. Not necessarily abandoned. But certainly questioned.
  • Identifying the ‘Elephants‘ – those things that we don’t talk about but we all now we should.
  • Identifying Signposts – significant changes that would alert everyone that the desire to transform the way we work is real.
  • Clarifying a ‘Purpose’ (why we exist and for whom). Purpose underpins all behaviours.


Phase 2: Action

Once the analysis is complete, we can start making it real and embedding the new ways of working, using the following Culture Change Checklist as a guide:

  1. Clarity of the new behaviours required – and why the need to change.
  2. Motivation. Help your people to want to adopt the new behaviours. Make the new ways of working real for every team.
  3. Skills. Help your people to develop the new skills and approach they need in the future.
  4. Tools. Give your people the tools they need to maintain the new approach.
  5. Rewards for adopting new behaviours – and align incentives.
  1. Consequences. What are the consequences of not adopting the new behaviours?
  2. Leadershipleading by example.

Culture drives everything. It is the most critical enabler of your future success. And it must change with the times. It can be tough to let go of behaviours that have been so successful in the past. But we must. The way you work needs to be fit for the future. Your culture needs to be future-proof.

Campbell Macpherson.

* The All Blacks’ creed for high performance. Courtesy of ‘Legacy’ James Kerr (Constable 2013)

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