Tag Archives: Harvard Business Review

Culture and Change

I finished reading Jay W Lorsch and Emily McTague’s article “Culture Is Not the Culprit” in the April issue of Harvard Business Review. I couldn’t agree more with their central thesis that culture isn’t something you “fix” but rather cultural change is what you get when you put new processes or structures in place to tackle business challenges.


As someone whose work involves connecting NEEDS with the WAY of implementing processes or structures, I can’t help but think that a great change management plan is not change then culture but rather one AND the other. Yes, one might come first as a natural first step but just as left and right brain thinking is the hallmark of great leadership, cultural change and organizational change go hand in hand.

I don’t agree with only focusing on CULTURE but if there is no CULTURE to support change than change management will lose its effectiveness. “CULTURE eats strategy for breakfast”…Peter Drucker used to say.

  • EMC
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Savvy Saturday August 10, 2013

Today’s savvy quote comes from Peter Drucker in a paper published in Harvard Business Review in 1989.

“People in any organization are always attached to the obsolete – the things that should have worked but did not, the things that once were productive and no longer are.”

What can we do about this? While change is inevitable, it’s important to understand that there are always attachments to the past in any organization – whether it be a business, a community, a family etc. There’s nothing wrong with having a history but the important thing is not to let history be an excuse for not changing or embracing new and innovative ways of doing things. Innovation is about unexpected connections between things – the past is always present. We don’t have to lose the past in order to progress but we need to reframe/reinvent/reconquer our notions about the past.

Happy Weekend everyone! E.M.C.

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