Social Media Roundup: Pick Up the Culture Pace

A big question on culture change—how long is too long? Also: Careful when calling yourself a "catalyst."

A lot can change in eight years—your technology, your culture, your family—but can your association’s culture?

One consulting pro ponders the speed of culture change in today’s Social Media Roundup:

Eight Is More Than Enough

It takes time to change a culture, but definitely not that long.

Author and consultant Jamie Notter shares a tale of an incident at a recent conference he attended where an association CEO argued that it takes eight years to change a workplace culture. Notter had a bit of disbelief over this statement, which he expanded upon in a blog post.

“This is about the prevailing myth that culture takes a long time to change,” he argues. “Not only is that a myth, it’s a dangerous one, because if your organization can’t figure out how to change culture in less than eight years, then you are guaranteeing your own irrelevance. Even strong, successful cultures will make significant changes over an eight-year period.”

So what’s a more realistic time frame, according to Notter? A year, maybe two, depending on organization size and any process changes. What’s your take—is eight years too long, or just right? (ht @SteveDrake)

Catalyst ≠ Change Agent

“Catalyst” doesn’t quite mean what you think it does.

Quite often, it’s used as a synonym for “change agent,” which sounds like a good thing, but as Conferences That Work author Adrian Segar notes, there’s another part of the definition for the word “catalyst,” as far as its scientific definition goes, that often gets overlooked—the idea that a catalyst helps create a chemical reaction “without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change.”

When a presenter or educator uses “catalyst,” it implies something a lot less desirable.

“If you set yourself up as an unchangeable teacher or trainer who flies in, runs your box of process to change others in some way, and leaves unaltered, you are someone who is closed to learning while simultaneously advocating it to others,” Segar explains. “This is not congruent behavior.”

So, careful with those buzzwords. You could be burning yourself without even realizing it. (ht @ASegar)


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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