Changing Cultural Beliefs

Article | Accountability Insights

by | Apr 11, 2014

Culture change is about one thing: shifting the Cultural Beliefs that are created through daily organizational experiences and which end up determining daily actions. Experiences create beliefs, beliefs determine actions, and actions produce results. Culture change does not require a large personality, cunning manipulation, inspirational appeals, or giant leaps of faith. It simply requires honest intentions, conscious thought, and focused effort. What sort of effort? Effort focused on modeling the new culture for everyone in the organization. Yes, it is just that simple. Once you have identified the new experiences, beliefs, and actions that define the culture and the results you want, start modeling the change.

Here’s how “modeling the change” works. Whenever you receive feedback that how you’re acting or thinking is creating an experience for others that is inconsistent with the new culture, apply the Methodology for Changing Beliefs. These five simple steps will immediately get people looking for evidence of your true alignment and sincere desire to model the new culture. Both individuals and teams can use this methodology to stimulate robust dialogue around the new culture and desired results.

1. Identify the belief you want to change and then say, “That’s not the belief I want you to hold.”
2. Tell them the belief you would like them to hold by saying, “The belief I want you to hold is … ”
3. Describe the experience you are going to create for them, and then say, “Here’s what I’m going to do … ”
4. Ask them for feedback on the planned experience by saying, “Will that be enough; is there something else I need to do?”
5. Enroll them in giving you feedback on your progress and then say, “Will you give me feedback along the way?”

When leaders honestly execute each of these steps, they launch the same thought process in those who are watching. Soon others get the message that “I ought to be acting and thinking like that too.” The result? Everyone in the organization begins looking for demonstration of the new belief (i.e., new way of thinking and acting), thinking about the new belief behavior, and seeking that behavior both in their fellow workers and, most importantly, in themselves.

Culture change occurs when leaders model the new culture. To learn more about change methods that do work, we invite you to join the Accountability Community at, where you can review actual client case studies.

Methodology for Changing Beliefs and Accountability Community are registered trademarks of Partners In Leadership, Inc.