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Culture and Change: Overcoming resistance

Culture is the heart of every organization. It is a complex web of shared values, beliefs and behaviors that determine the identity and working methods of an organization. As an organizational consultant with expertise in sourcing, tendering and optimizing collaborations, I am aware of the challenges associated with changing an organizational culture. In this blog I want to explore why cultures often seem tough and unchangeable, and how we can achieve effective changes that lead to improvements through culture change and awareness.

stroopwafels and culture
Totus Consultancy

The power of culture

Culture is deeply rooted in an organization and has a strong influence on employee behavior. It forms the basis for norms, traditions and customs within the organization and therefore contributes positively to the organization as a whole. Culture provides stability and a sense of identity, making employees feel connected to the organization. However, this force can also be an obstacle to change; the starting point for the further text.

Resistance to change

Change can be threatening to the existing culture. Employees often feel comfortable within existing norms and routines and the idea of change can cause uncertainty and anxiety. Furthermore, culture can create a "silo mentality" creation, in which people hold on to their own beliefs and resist changes that are considered threatening.

Breaking the culture barrier

Awareness is essential to achieve cultural change. Understanding the current culture, including its strengths and weaknesses, allows us to identify specific areas of focus. Involving employees in this process is crucial. By open communication and creating a safe environment in which ideas and concerns can be expressed, we can reduce resistance and actively involve employees in the change.

The importance of leadership

Leaders play a key role in driving culture change. They must set a good example by demonstrating congruent behavior and embodying the desired values and norms. It's also important that leaders allow room for experimentation and learning, so employees have the opportunity to try new approaches and adapt to change.

Promoting positive change

An effective way to stimulate cultural change is to create awareness of the benefits and opportunities that change brings. By clearly communicating the need for change and the potential benefits for both individuals and the organization, we can motivate employees to be open to change. It is essential to initiate dialogue, answer questions and address any concerns. By sharing success stories and best practices we can show that change can produce positive results.

Creating a change-oriented culture

Implementing a culture change is not a one-time process, but rather a continuously evolving process. It is important to promote a change-oriented culture that focuses on learning, adaptability and innovation. This can be achieved by encouraging an open and learning mindset, facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration and rewarding initiative and proactive behavior.

The importance of involvement and participation

Cultural change requires involvement and participation from all levels within the organization. It is important to involve employees in identifying change goals, developing new values and defining desired behaviors. Through participatory processes, such as workshops, team meetings and working groups, employees can feel ownership of the change and become motivated to contribute to the process.

Measuring culture change

To monitor the progress of culture change, it is important to define measurable indicators. These may include surveys to measure employee perceptions and attitudes, observations of workplace behavior or analyzing organizational results and performance. By regularly measuring and evaluating, we can gain insight into the effectiveness of the change and make adjustments where necessary.


Having a strong organizational culture is of course a good thing. But it can sometimes be counterproductive when major changes occur. Changing an organizational culture is therefore not an easy task, but it can be the key to successful transformations and improvements. By creating awareness, actively involving employees, demonstrating leadership and promoting a change-oriented culture, we can overcome resistance to change. Culture change is an ongoing process that requires time, patience and consistency, but with the right approach we can create an environment where change is embraced and the organization grows and thrives.

NB: I always use Maslow's pyramid as a frame of reference to understand at what point, or better yet, how the upcoming change will affect the needs of those involved.


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