Embedding Change – Making It Stick & Creating a Culture

by | Jul 28, 2016

Embedding change in your organisation

Here are some ways to go about embedding change and making sure the change you want or need for your organization is successful:

#Give them the evidence

Show people over and over that the change is real. Provide them with a steady stream of evidence to prove that the change has happened and is successful.  Set out to deliver real results at regular intervals in your change process and then tell people about them – don’t just wait for the big bang at the end. Get people involved and then get them to talk about their involvement.  Make sure everyone hears the news.

Read: Managing the human side of change management

#Financial reward

When loyalty and the joy of the job are not enough to keep people, they may need some financial or other rewards.  The promise of future reward may be enough to keep them engaged but make sure it isn’t too far out to be enticing — usually reasonable reward needs to be within a twelve-month timeframe. This risk is that when the reward is gained, you may lose them. If you want them to stay, you may need to keep a rolling “golden handcuff “ system

#Build change into formal systems and structures

After a while, institutionalized things become so entrenched, people forget to resist and just do what is required, even if they do not agree with them.  So you can make changes stick by building them into the formal fabric of the organization, for example, in standards and personal objectives.

Read: Women excluded by male coded messages in business

#Give them a new challenge

[Tweet "A challenge is a great motivator that can focus people on new and different things."] Get people to keep up interest in a change by giving them new challenges related to the change.  Make sure the challenges really stimulate them and keep them looking to the future.

Read: Engagement The One Thing That Can Change Everything

#Reward people for doing the right things

A surprisingly common trap in change is to ask (or even demand) that people change, yet the reward system that is driving their behavior is not changed.

Asking for teamwork then rewarding people as individuals is a very common example.

So when you are embedding change, make sure that you align the reward system with the changes that you want to happen.

#Rites of passage

Rituals are symbolic acts to which we attribute significant meaning. A celebration to mark a change is used in many cultures, ranging from rites of passage to manhood for aboriginal tribes to the wedding ceremonies of Christian and other religions. Such ritual passages are often remembered with great nostalgia, and even the remembrance of them becomes ritualized.  When a change is completed, celebrate with a party or some other ritualized recognition of the passing of a key milestone.  You can also start a change with a wake (which is a party that is held to celebrate the life of someone who has died) to symbolize letting go of the past.  Create new rituals to help shift the culture to a new form. Use these, if possible, to replace the rituals that already exist.


Build your change into the social fabric. A change that is socialized becomes normal and the ‘way things are’.  When something becomes a social norm, people will be far more unlikely to oppose it as to do so is to oppose the group and its leaders. Seal changes by building them into the social structures.  Give social leaders prominent positions in the change. When they feel ownership for it, they will talk about it and sell it to others.

Originally posted in The Wisewolf Coaching Blog

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Wendy Smith Contributor
Wendy Smith offers the full range of career coaching services focusing on career and personal development as well as work/life balance. This includes developing career strategies and your personal branding. Career coaching is designed to identify and magnify your talents and integrate those skills to achieve success with first rate career management.
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