Fostering Change Without Getting Fired

I found this post over on Steven Vore’s Weblog:

Sean Murphy in reply to Corporate Culture-Shifting: “Changing the culture is something I am battling with right now. We are trying to implement a Knowledge Centered Support environment, where everyone collaborates and shares for the benefit of the team. On a good day, I get comments like “They shoot collaborators, don’t they?”, but most often I feel like the message is treated as white noise. Upper management has not really bought into making the culture shift because they keep whipping the operational managers to meet numbers. How is it possible to get the shift to happen? It makes logical sense to a lot of use, but change is scary and seems like more effort will be required. I would love to hear from others on how they have effectively engineered change in their culture in a timely manner. Thanks.”

It’s a common refrain coming from the front lines. Suggestions, fellow culture-changers?

You may want to check out Tempered Radicals by Debra Meyerson. She writes about the experiences of people who have decided to create change within a work place that doesn’t match their values rather than leave the company. She focuses mostly on creating change on issues such as diversity, fair-trade products, family-friendly work hours, etc. However, I think the strategies that she discusses are just as valid and useful for trying to move an organization towards a more knowledge-based organizational culture.

Her key themes are: leading by example, small early wins, turning threats into change opportunities, and taking a long view. No quick fixes, I’m afraid.