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How to get anyone to agree to your culture change project

Daniel's super simple step-by-step guide to changing culture in organisations

Step 1: Identify the people who are decision makers 

This could be your boss, the head of a department or a committee. 

From my experience, you need to approach culture change from the top down and the bottom up. If you can get one influential person from a department on board, then you can then get the whole department.

If you can get one or two senior managers on board, you can get the whole committee!

If you are pitching to senior management , one of our favourite customers, John Bailey, has some great advice - "Make sure that a couple of people on the senior management team know about the proposal and support it already".


Step 2: Do Your background research on what their objectives are. 

Everyone in a well-run organisation knows what they need to do in the next 1 month, the next 3 months, and the next year. This is because there is usually a strategy which will detail objectives and actions plans. This is where you find the "official objectives"

People also have personal objectives, like career progression for example. It could be caring for the environment, or worrying about waste. It could just be doing right by your fellow colleagues.


Step 3: Meet the person or people who you want to adopt your proposal or change in practice

Explain why you want to meet.

Tell them how long it will take.

Tell them why they will be interested in meeting.

Make it easy for them to meet you.

Bribe them with coffee and cake if you have to.

(This all works over email too)

If they are hard to reach use the same technique with their peers.

Do this one-on-one first.

Then go bigger.

Read Tim Ferriss blog post "how to get a meeting with anyone"


Step 4: Ask them what their problems are

You are trying to find issues which your proposal will assist with.

Keep asking 'What?', 'Where?', 'Who?', and 'Why?' to get to the bottom of the issue (see this post).

culture change steps stairs 

Step 5: Listen. Listen like you have never listened before

2 ears, one mouth.

Take notes on a pad, not on your device. The written note taking is much more respectful. 

You need to be able to define their issue as specifically as you can.

If you can't relay that information to your team, you need more details.


Step 6: Go away, and think creatively about how your proposal will help them

You need to identify overlaps between their problems and what you are proposing.

Brainstorm with your team.


Step 7: Demonstrate how your solution helps them towards solving their problem or meeting their goal

In the meeting, summarise the problems they are having.

Propose how your change will help to fix it.

Tell them how you personally are going to contribute.

Tell them what the next step in the plan of action is.


Step 8: Tell them what you are going to do next to help them

You need to show them your plan.

Your goal.

Your milestones.

You are building confidence and a team. 


Step 9: Get their agreement

Verbal agreements are weak.

Written is good.

Public is much better.


Are you ready to try and change the culture of your company for the better? Let's go!
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Daniel O'Connor

Daniel O'Connor

I use my time and experience to contribute to the transition to a regenerative sustainable society for all.


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