Cultural Shift

Upon hiring a person within your organization the experts will tell you to look for three things: 1) Competence, 2) Character, and 3) Cultural Fit.

Once, I broke this rule by hiring a person who wasn’t a good cultural fit, hoping he would change our organization’s culture, but I failed…so I am now more cautious with this part of the hiring process.

Here is the question I am posing…What do you do when your organization’s culture begins to shift, having existing employees remaining in and reflecting the old cutlure? Do you immediately get rid of them or try to change them? Which approach is most successful and the best use of resouces and time?”

I have read a vareity of opinions on this matter and still go back and forth.

Any thoughts?


~ by Dave Smith on June 24, 2008.

4 Responses to “Cultural Shift”

  1. People can change…but I think it’s the exception, not the norm…And if/when they do…will it be enough to satisfy the new culture?

    Your question is binary and seems pessimistic…”immediately get rid of” vs. “try to change them”.

    Is there a more positive third alternative?

    As cultures go…I guess the answer is contextual.

    Can we transition them out over a period of time?

    Can we allow them to adopt the new culture?

    Both take time…which our culture has very little of.

  2. Yea, agreed people can change…and part of leadership is consistently reinventing yourself to remain contextually sound.

    However, there are those times where it seems like a cultural shift goes beyond what a person’s makeup will allow.

    The two options were extreme. I had actually had a third one, which was “realign” but wanted to keep it simple with two options.

    All for slow transitions out and/or leaving time for cultural adaptation and coaching…however when it comes down to it, the direction is either “in” or “out.”

    So with cases where it appears a person is beyond normal coaching means (i.e. over abundant time and energy) and/or their “dna” opposes the organizations…when do you come to that point where you say, it just ins’t worth the energy.

    I guess I hear you saying there is some sort of decision to be made in figuring out how much time the transformation will take place and if the organization is then willing to take the time to do so.

    Yea, maybe this just goes up to the art and subjectivity of leadership, having no real set formula, in which you have to look at things situationally and go with your gut?

  3. Initial thought: don’t treat church “employees” simply as employees as any other organization would. The three C’s of hiring/firing didn’t mention anything about the Holy Spirit and discernment, I noticed.

  4. How about the answer, “It depends?”

    Sometimes you just need to let someone go, and it’s not so much about culture. They are incompetent, or they’re not trustworthy, or they sow seeds of disunity. They should be dismissed right away.

    But with the others…if it truly is about culture…I think more can change than not. I think a leader such as yourself can cast a vision that will excite them for what’s ahead and help them let go of the past so that they can reach for the future.

    Okay, that sounded cheezy, but I really believe that. I think. It’s late.

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