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Cultural Change Planning


Disciplines > Change Management > Planning for change > Cultural Change Planning

Method | Example | Discussion | See also



Complete the table below, in the order of the items as numbered.

  Beliefs and Mental models Values and Preferences Attitudes, Styles, and Behaviors Organizational Intentions and Goals
Is now 5. What are the underlying beliefs and mental models that lead to current values and visible behaviors?  4. What are the real values and preferences that explain current attitudes, etc. 1. What attitudes, styles and behaviors do we see now

3. Will current attitudes, etc. lead to achievement of goals?

2. What are our organizational intentions and goals?
Must be 8. What underlying beliefs and mental models must change? 7. What changes in values and preferences are needed? 6. What attitudes, decision styles and behaviors will lead to organizational intent and goals?  


There are two further steps to carry this forward into practical action:

 9. What actions must we take? Who will do what, when?
10. How will we ensure and assure that necessary change is happening?

Note that cultural change sessions like this are best done as a facilitated session, preferably by an external facilitator.

Note that step 3 does not need anything written in the table, and if the answer is 'yes' then the session may well be stopped -- no need to change what is working. However, there may also be an honesty test at this point to check that the people are not using a 'flight into health'.


  Beliefs and Mental models Values and Preferences Attitudes, Styles, and Behaviors Organizational Intentions and Goals
Is now People work best when you are kind Values: be nice, be safe

Preferences: risk-avoidance

Do my job; Play safe; leave on time Become market leader
Must be People work best when challenged Values: Challenge,

Preferences: risk-accepting

Do what needs to be done; Take risks Be market leader



This is a table that can be used in facilitating cultural change with management teams. It is deliberately simple as many teams can only handle so much change themselves at one time. This provides a first step to get the team thinking about what needs to change -- what is  not covered is the detail of how this will happen.

The table has a causal sequence from left to right, thus:

  • Organizational intentions and goals are the overall intended outcome. In working with culture it is easy to forget about what it is all for really.
  • Attitudes, styles and behaviors are visible aspects of culture.
  • Values and preferences lead to choices and decisions, which lead to visible attitudes, styles and behaviors.
  • Beliefs and mental models underpin values and preferences -- you often have to change these to change the values and preferences.

The process starts with attitudes, styles and behaviors because this is visible evidence and is easiest to identify. You can start with intentions and goals if you like.

Before completing each column, you can have a discussion to ensure that the headers are understood.

Afterwards, make sure that all actions were owned.

See also

Values, Preferences, Beliefs, Schema, Culture


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