The Assignment: Transforming Leadership, Transforming Culture

Our organization is going through the early stages of a cultural revolution.
OUT is the old style command and control form of top down hierarchical "leadership".
IN is our new principle based leadership.

Exciting times but the change is not for the faint of heart.

We are struggling through what it means to truly change the cultural heartbeat of an eleven thousand strong organization.

One of the activities being undertaken is that our leaders are all going through a full day session titled:

Transforming Leadership, Transforming Culture.

I am writing this blog tonight as my day to attend this course has arrived and tomorrow is the big day.

To prepare for the day we were asked to bring "a hat that represents the work that your area is responsible for, or that highlights any specific experience or expertise that you bring to your role."

So here I sit at 10PM not sure what hat to bring.

Tempted to bring one of my Rasta hats from when I lived in Ethiopia.  Or maybe the hat that belonged to my Dad as a kid in Nigeria.  Or maybe my favorite hat from boarding school 25 years ago...


my favourite hat.

My Rickard's White ball cap to be exact.

The exercise for tomorrow isn't about why I like the hat, its what could the hat represent regarding my work area...

Thinking about my hat:

It's simple.
It's worn.
It's old.
It's VERY comfortable.
I'm used to it.
It fits my head now very well.
Basically, I just like it.


The hat very much could represent how many of us feel about cultural change. Thinking about change can cause discomfort. We like the current culture. It's comfy. We're used to it. It fits us VERY well thank you very much. We know how it feels, it's predictable and basically we just like it. (OK maybe we don't always like our current culture, but at least we know it.)

If I had to be forced to give up my hat I'd be upset. Even if for a "better" hat that had many benefits. My current hat represents many things that I'm loathe to just up and leave behind...

What will the new hat feel like?
Will it look as good on me as my old hat?
Will it suit me?
Will it make me look strange or stand out of the crowd in an embarrassing way?

Is this how it is with a cultural transformation?

Will this new culture fit me?
Will it turn me into a spectacle or put me out there as something strange?
Will it be comfortable?

Aren't these some of the same questions that our brains may be asking without us even knowing it?

I'm thinking so.  I'm guessing that tomorrow the exercise may very well be to not only describe why we brought our hats, but to be asked to take off and leave our hats behind.

I'm thinking I'll have my answer in about 12 hours.

To be continued...

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