Alter the Custom and Own the Custom


When my family went on a cruise to the U.S. Virgin Islands I was surprised to see the cars all driving on the left side of the road… just like in Great Britain. Their automobiles however are equipped with the steering wheel on the left, just like in the USA.

What’s that all about?

When the Virgin Islands were bought from Denmark, they couldn’t teach the donkeys to walk on the right… They were too stubborn to make the change.

Your culture may be so stubborn that you can’t change it, no matter how hard you try. You can push, pull, yell and cry but it is all to no avail. Maybe you just need to go with the popular flow.

So what can you do?

Simple, make it your own. Don’t feel like you have to conform to every tradition or policy. Alter the tradition to suit the changes that are necessary to move forward. Hence the steering wheels on the same side of the cars in the US Virgin Islands as in the rest of the US.

You can’t completely overhaul the culture of your organization. But you can own it.

Alter your culture to own it.

Make little changes. Tweak the policies. Bend the rules. Keep what is necessary and ditch the useless practices that are irrelevant in today’s world.

You might not be able to make all the stubborn donkeys to change sides, but as they are replaced, you can bring in your autos that keep some traditions, but keep the culture moving forward… at a faster pace!

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