Monthly Archives: August 2016

Culture Change

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An organisation’s culture is like gravity. You can’t see it or touch it, but it exerts a constant pull that holds things in place. Like gravity, culture is made tangible by its effects; it can be seen in the behaviours and practices of an organisation’s management and employees. An unseen culture is restrictive, disruptive and can undermine morale, productivity and profits.

The need for culture change is becoming more and more frequent. In order for organisations to face the challenges and opportunities the future will bring, addressing the question of culture change is widely accepted by business leaders as essential. However, what is meant by culture change can cause confusion.

Most leaders attempt to bring about cultural change through top-down initiatives that are aimed at influencing behaviours and practices. These programs often fail because they address the effects of culture, leaving its causes unseen and unchanged. Executive Coaching works with its clients to create initiatives in which people can successfully step outside their familiar frameworks to identify and address the embedded attitudes, assumptions and ways of thinking that drive behaviour and hold the culture’s limitations in place. In doing so, participants gain the freedom to act in new ways, and to forge a new culture based on common commitment.

Among the principal benefits of culture change are improved morale and productivity.

Being Ourselves

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Our “identity,” who we consider ourselves to be, is essentially arrived at by default, assembled to adapt to something we saw as wrong or some seeming insufficiency. Mostly when we were young and learning to deal with life, we made decisions to get through the circumstances we encountered. Those decisions worked at the time, so we kept them around, inadvertently defining who we are today, and leaving us with a subtle but disconcerting inability to be fully at home with ourselves.

A kind of absurdity lies in acting as if who we are today is a compilation of those ways of being we put together way back then. Once our “identity” is seen for what it is, it becomes clear that it’s not fixed or set and we’re not in any way stuck with those ways of being. Stepping outside of our identity, however, isn’t so easy, as our identity has achieved a certain density throughout our lives. In recognising that who we consider ourselves to be is not an absolute, we reveal what’s possible in being human—giving us hands-on access to a world that’s malleable and open to being invented.

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