We love to change. We hate to be changed.

man wearing gray cap and black shirt, change, culture


If your boss drops £1million into your bank account today there’s a good chance you won’t mind too much. In fact, you might feel pretty good about it. Whether there are strings attached or not, you’d probably be inclined to like the act and appreciate whatever the motive was.

On the other hand, if you went to work today and were told to move desk and do a different job starting right away, you might feel a bit miffed. Perhaps you’d question how valued your effort in the old job was. Perhaps you’d look over your shoulder to see who was now sitting in your seat and make some comparative conclusions.

In both cases the time would come when you’d question what lay behind the decision to pay you a bonus or displace you. Why? Because while we love to change, we hate to be changed.

Of course, if you had known what was coming you’d have had the chance to rationalise it and come to terms with it.

This is a simple example of what happens when people are asked to do something without a reason. Consultants refer to this kind of thing as the company acting with a ‘purpose’ or creating a ‘change culture’. We think it’s more to do with basic recognition that everyone in the organisation has the capacity to contribute toward the decision – if they’re included in the process.

Problem: how to get your resource to focus on the job to be done and not on their own issues?

Please don’t bolt a ‘Suggestions’ box to the wall and think it’s enough. It’s been tried and the boxes hang, desolate, in offices and factories all over the land.

Answer: elevate the conversation.

If you ask Mary in Accounts how to improve her experience at work she’ll tell you and it won’t be helpful.

Ask her what she thinks your product might need to become to survive past its current twelve month forecast and she’ll have far more helpful ideas.

It might sound trite to say this but purpose and culture start from somewhere. We believe that these intangible concepts all stem from a good place and, in room44 innovation-focused projects we start with your customer and what they want.

Mary is a consumer. She buys all kinds of things every week; pants, toothpaste, food, cars, a house, furniture, flowers, medicine, vacuum bags, insurance…

Rajeshree sits next to Mary. She buys things too. So does Dave in Goods In and Felix in HR. You’re surrounded by people who have consumer-centric opinions and who talk to people who buy your thing.

If you really want to create a culture that is inclusive and where your staff feels valued, try not telling them how to be. Try asking them what their evaluation of your market need is. Try teasing out what they’d do. Ask them what your product needs to become. Try working out a strategy as a team.

If you need some help with this, that’s OK too. Try a workshop that shows them how to do it for themselves. In fact, try this: innovation workshop dates in November.

If these dates don’t work for you we can bring it to you when it’s convenient. Just let me know when you’d like to see us.

Seeing it differently. Future-proofing. It’s what we do.