ON AUGUST 10, the Philippine Star reported that President Noynoy Aquino stands firm on his decision to relieve Pagasa chief citing differences between their approaches to the task at hand.

It further stated that one of the reasons for the relief was that the Pagasa chief insisted for the implementation of the modernization program that includes the P1.1 billion broadband project when the DOST Secretary tried to convince him that the agency could employ a dramatic improvements in the next six months with less than 100 million pesos.

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The President himself told Palace reporters that it was a matter of cultural differences between DOST and the leadership of Pagasa.

This situation is similar to a business organization where individuals resist cultural change because they are always comfortable with the status quo. They tend to believe that changing things could put them out of their comfort zone that is why they refuse to adopt the new culture.

Usually, the current organizational culture matches the style and comfort zone of the company managers. This culture frequently echoes the prevailing management style. Since managers tend to hire people just like themselves, the established organizational culture is reinforced by new hires. This however will have a negative multiplier effect if left unsolved because it would surely jeopardize business success.

Changing the accepted organizational culture can feel like rolling rocks uphill because it resides in the dark, unexamined recesses of the individuals mind. This unexamined assumptions that make up the organizational culture have not been questioned in years. That is why it is very tough to change existing culture because powerful organizational members have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. This interest was formed over years of interaction between all participants of the organization.

Also, it is more difficult to change the culture of an existing organization than to create a culture in a brand new organization. In my last article, I mentioned that business leaders should start operating business by letting their managers follow the culture that is in harmony with the vision and mission of the organization because when an organizational culture is already established, people must unlearn the old values, assumptions, and behaviors before they can learn the new ones which is quite difficult to do.

It is said that changing procedures in an organization would remain superficial and short-lived unless there are fundamental cultural changes in the values and ways of thinking of every members in the organization. When this is overlooked, the resisting forces will simply renew their efforts to re-establish the old status quo.

When we start changing our organizational culture, we should determine something that is easy to change first. This is the shift from "I-centric" thinking to "We-centric" thinking. The result is a shift from a command and control environment to a co-creating environment that is better for everyone and everything involved.

The following are steps in changing an existing culture. a) Understand the present culture. You cannot change the organizational culture without knowing where your organization wants to be or what fundamentals of the current organizational culture need to change; b) Set the direction. A decision should be made as to the organization’s strategic direction or where the company wants to go and an assessment on what the organizational culture should look like to support success; and c) Change the attitude. This is the hardest step in culture change because each individual in the organization must decide to change their respective behavior.

The basic concept of organizational change is that all existing workforce will stay but must be committed to changing their attitudes, otherwise, business leaders must be ready to replace them with somebody that would fit into the new culture.

Aligning organizational culture with the need to improve business performance is an ongoing challenge for business leaders. And, unless organizational culture and attitudes are considered and attended to as part of the planning for improvement initiatives, the prospect of success is significantly reduced

(The writer is the CEO of Human-Potential Management Consultancy. He regularly holds seminars on human resource management and business management. He also conducts Organizational Development and Change Management programs. You may contact him at e-mail: archietim@yahoo.com and cell No. 09266468591)