At this time, many leaders in the professional world understand the importance of positive corporate culture. However, the failure rate of culture change initiatives is 66% or more, according to a survey by McKinsey. Why? Author Kevin Oakes, head of the world’s leading HR research firm, writes that instead of trying to completely transform culture we should renovate it. In his book Culture Renovation, he says successful culture renovation happens by “keeping what works, changing what needs to change, and ensuring proper care and maintenance.” Here are my suggestions for implementing successful culture renovation in your organization.


Culture renovation can feel psychologically risky, and it can take a long time. According to Forbes, it can take five years or longer to see a meaningful shift in company culture. As with any challenging endeavor, commitment makes a huge difference. Make sure you’re willing to handle the inevitable resistance you will meet along the way, and that you are in it for the long haul. Getting off the roller coaster in the middle of the ride is not only unpleasant, but it also won’t get you where you want to go.  

Create a Strong Story

People love stories. Stories create meaning and give us a sense of purpose. A compelling change renovation story creates context and a sense of importance. By making sure your story connects to the motivations of your team, you will tap into a source of energy to rely on when navigating employee resistance. Be sure to include both the risks of continuing with the current culture, as well as the rewards of renovating. Communicate your story, then continue to follow up with ongoing messaging. Communicate, communicate, communicate!

Live the Example

“Be the change you want to see in the world,” said Gandhi in his famous quote. Forbes recently agreed, writing in a recent article, “the real bottleneck to role modeling is knowing what to change at a personal level. By using common tools such as 360-degree feedback, surveys, and dialogues, we can gain a better sense of how each of us can contribute to modeling change renovation. Remember that when it comes to setting an example, everyone is a leader. Instead of overinvesting in a few select influencers, balance your culture renovation initiatives across the entire organization to maximize the spread of the change you want to see.  

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