Changing a Culture
Culture isn’t only the rules – it is much more than that; it is the world in our heads. If we are to succeed, do we need to take the culture we have with us or do we leave it behind in favour of another one? Culture change is the domain of organisational development (OD). OD takes a more developmental view of its contribution and works in ways that are in contrast to its big brother, management consultancy. A typical management consultancy approach, with its structuralist blueprint, has young, well-briefed and highly gifted individuals arriving to find the most suitable means of applying their ‘know how’ to your reality. In contrast, as one OD practitioner described it:
“OD is not about ‘injections’, but about building processes together, starting where people are, helping them to find their own questions, and helping them to transform their questions. It is about addressing the whole human being and the organisation, structure, process, identity, relationships. This is a complex, challenging task.”
OD implies within it some possibility of sustainability and health rather than a one-off intervention or programme. It emphasises the importance of wakefulness and attentiveness to what is taking place and the courage to play a part in bringing about new states of affairs responsibly. At its heart, it is the work of raising consciousness in oneself and in others who are part of the situation in order to provide greater freedom and, therefore, more life-enhancing choices for all involved.
Development is a more collaborative process and has to begin with a question that comes from inside those who are seeking to change. In this way, development arises out of a relationship and not by one party imposing change upon another; it is an expression of the warmth and commitment of all involved to work together to realise something new from their exchanges.