The original post on culture change can be found here:

http://www.patrick.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123427098

Our response is below:

Hi,

It’s interesting that you say that “Attempts are made by organizations to include the use of managerial concept initiatives to eliminate unneeded defects and waste. However, more often than not, the initiatives fail to meet expectations, not due to learning new methods, but by not putting them into daily practice. The root cause is the inability to achieve culture change.”

In my own culture change work, I have found that putting these sorts of ‘eliminationist’ management approaches into practice tends to be what leads to unhelpful culture change.

Being positive is crucial, but if being positive is allied to thinking about culture change primarily in terms of eliminating defects and waste then it is highly likely that the positivity and appreciative inquiry may become rhetoric that increases difficulties, cynicism, disengagement, and the emotional estrangement of the squadron. If a cultural climate shift has not already taken place, sometimes an emphasis on positivity can hide the issues and delay or militate against helpful culture change.

It is important that there be a primary focus on qualities of relationship among and between people in the squadron. This is even more important when army operations call for such a high level of functional and instrumental operations to start with. A primary focus on ethical qualities of relationship balances out the very strong tendencies of high functionism, high instrumentalism, and eliminationist management to throw an organisation’s cultural climate out of balance.

Times are hard, but in my opinion helpful culture change is unlikely to be promoted by doubling back into the logics of efficiency, austerity, and defect- or waste-erasure that make times extra hard.

All the best with everything. This is important work.

Anthony McCann, Hummingbird Culture Change

 

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