Culture Change is Hard But I Want to Help

I’ve been fascinated by culture and how it affects the success of people and organizations for most of my adult life. I had the privilege of serving Beta Theta Pi in a professional role when I graduated from Virginia Tech. I use that wording intentionally. We (I’m a life long member and still volunteer) have a clear mission at Beta; to develop men of principle for a principled life, and our professional work was in service of that mission. It’s dawning on me now that even when I used to introduce myself I would always say, “My name is Bradley de Wet, and I serve Beta Theta Pi as the Leadership Consultant for the South Central Region.” We knew our work mattered because the lives of men were in the balance. If done the right way, the fraternity experience can be transformative and instill values that set you up for an exemplary life. If done the wrong way, the destruction it can cause for our members and their college communities is incredible.  We were working to change the culture of our organization and of all fraternities and sororities across the country. We were missionaries. As Simon Sinek says we worked with “blood, sweat, and tears,” because we believed in what we were doing to our core.

I became a culture change expert at Beta. I learned how to evaluate a group of people and see what their values were based on their actions and less on their words. I learned how to build trust with members of a group by being valuable and inspire groups to change their culture for the better. It was the most rewarding work I’ve ever done.

Now in my early 30’s I find I’m still obsessed with culture. I want ever place I work to have a noble cause everyone is bought into. I want people to understand how fulfilling it is to work somewhere that is making the world a better place. I firmly believe businesses make more money over the long term when they have these types of cultures built around noble causes.

Culture change is incredibly hard. I’ve tried to do it as an employee in a business and failed, so I know first hand. It has to be something the top leadership really buys into otherwise the change won’t take hold and the benefits won’t be seen. How do we get those with the power to make the culture shift see why it’s something that needs to be done?

This question generated the idea for what I’ve been working on lately. I’m calling it Culturitics. I want to help those who are trying to change culture in their organizations, but don’t have the power to change it by themselves. I want to give those people the tools and information to demonstrate the benefits of more intentional culture shaping for their organization and the people who are a part of it. Trying to change culture is more art than science and often comes down to having the right kind of inspirational leader, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to be more scientific in our approach. The field of Industrial and Organizational Psychology has been doing this for the last 50 years. Culturitics is an attempt to give those who are wanting to change their organization’s culture a way of measuring it more concretely. It would use sentiment analysis of what is written and said by members of the organization to return scores in the areas such as Adaptability, Mission, Involvement, and Consistency.

If I’m totally honest, I really don’t know if this is what people who are trying to change culture at work really need, but I do want to engage with you and hear your stories if you are. If you’re trying to do this I want to help you in any way I can, because I know how invested I was and how disappointed I was when I wasn’t able to be successful. I needed help and didn’t have what I needed at the time. I want to make it different for you. So, if you’re interested in talking about how you’re trying to change the culture of your immediate team, your floor, your office, or the entire organization you work at, lets talk. Email me at bradley.dewet@gmail.com and we can schedule a time to video chat.

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