Your Culture Changed—Whether You Wanted It To or Not

December 21, 2021
December 21, 2021 Jamie Notter

When you intentionally design your culture, it develops a certain center of gravity to it. The world may change constantly, but a well-designed culture will stay its course. If you have a “culture by default,” on the other hand, the culture frequently bends to pressure from the outside, and the results are typically not good.

Then came 2020.

In the last two years, even intentionally designed cultures have changed. The pandemic brought changes to the work world that are structural, and every single culture has been forced to adapt to those changes. The problem is, no one is identifying exactly HOW their cultures have changed.

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Too many leaders are clinging too tightly to the culture they had in place back in 2019, insisting that the previous culture and core values are still in place. Much of it is still in place—your center of gravity did not disappear entirely—but parts of it have changed significantly because nearly everyone now has a new relationship with “work.” How we do it, where we do it, when we do it, even why we do it—it’s all new for many of us. So are you aware of how your people experience those changes and how that has changed your culture?

Now is the time to assess your culture and redesign it for the current reality. I know it feels like the ground is shifting beneath our feet, but at the very least you need to take a close look at your current culture patterns so you can figure out how best to adapt to today’s reality. Every month you wait to do this simply puts you more and more off course.

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Jamie Notter

Jamie is a co-founder and culture strategist at PROPEL, where he helps leaders create amazing workplace cultures that drive greater performance and impact. He brings thirty years of experience to his work designing and managing culture, and has specialized along the way in areas like conflict resolution and generations. Jamie is the co-author of four popular business books, including the award-winning Non-Obvious Guide to Employee Engagement, and his fall 2023 release, Culture Change Made Easy. He holds a Master’s in conflict resolution from George Mason and a certificate in Organization Development from Georgetown, where he serves as adjunct faculty.