How Long to Change a Corporate Culture?

Posted: July 29, 2010 in On Target
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How long should it take to change a corporate culture? BP has been struggling to change its safety and risk management culture since at least 2005. The BP board was right to ouster Tony Hayward, because it’s taken too long, with the results we’ve seen in the Gulf of Mexico. The reality is that changes can be almost immediate if the CEO and board back up and support the people in the organization who see what is required to make the change. They have to be ruthless in punishing unacceptable behavior and in rooting out holdouts. They also have to promote and reward supervisors, managers and executives that believe in the new orientation. They must literally lead the charge to change practices and beliefs in the organization, even to the point of correcting minor mistakes and micromanaging initiatives that are critical to the strategic change. That isn’t what is taught in MBA courses on strategic management and leadership, but that is what is required for truly deep strategic change to be successful.

© 2010 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes permitted with attribution.

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