We are all familiar with cultural change programmes. Sadly most of them are more like ‘Culture Change Pogroms’. They ask people to conform or go. If you don’t fit the new norm there is no place for you. Shape up or ship out.
Sadly this misses something really important and ironically, as a change process, it acts to keep things as they are.
It is difference that makes the difference, to misquote Gregory Bateson. When we all see things the same way we are captured by our existing cultural norms. The changes we make are limited to better ways of doing the same thing. They are improvements not transformations. If improvement is all you need that is fine, yet if the external world changes it is transformation that you need to stay competitive.
The real art to transformation is to be able to handle real and genuine difference. It is to avoid quickly separating it into black and white, right and wrong, for us or against us. To suspend disbelief for long enough for a chink of light to shine through, illuminating a new thought or intuition.
When we act to remove difference we kill the opportunity to create something genuinely different. And ultimately we become architects of our own commercial downfall.
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