You cannot change your culture through analysis alone. It creates unbalance.

“You can only know what your company culture is by trying to change it.”

It’s like getting your feet wet before you can swim.

It takes courageous leadership to test the “water” – to step into the intangible and invisible space of human nature and to explore its full potential. It creates balance, or in some cases, re-balance.

It’s like getting to know a person only by doing things together and gradually learning about each other. It takes courage and humility to build, understand and experience human relationships without rank and title in the company. Humility is the hallmark of servant leadership.

Otherwise, by relying on analysis alone as the basis to change culture, you are only scratching the surface of your culture. This usually results in unstainable culture change results because analysis tries to break things down into parts, and the tendency of analytical approach is to separate the human side of culture because of its perceived invisible, intangible and somewhat “messy” nature.

The idea is really to understand the subtler but very significant and important parts of culture that enable and sustain culture change. This, by the way, is also very much a 'lean principle' by Julie Hunt Develop A Culture Lead Team

  • Take the “Informal Route” – “model it … work a chapter a week (or a month) as a “book club” using the Reflection sections to make it real.” Read: Anese Cavanaugh – Contagious Culture)

  • Start a “Cultural Interview”. Read: Barry Phegan – Developing your company culture)

  • Introduce culture workout practice like the mindful practice of exploring your Human Potential – Being at Full Potential

  • Deciphering Your Company’s Culture: A Four Hour Exercise. Read: Edgar Schein – The Corporate Survival Guide)


Much of this blog article is inspired by the work of Barry Phegan in his book “Developing Your Company Culture”.

Acknowledgement to Trace Hobson – Vancouver, Canada, who first introduced me to the “Mindful practice of Human Potential” methodology.

Inspired by team members of the NZ Workshop-Seminar – Sujith Ravindran, Mark Vandeneijnde, Owen McCall and David Gandar.

May 15, 2016 by Peter Leong