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Chronicles from a Caribbean Cubicle

10/18/2007

Culture Change Gone Bad

While a culture change is very hard to do well, it is very easy to do badly.

In this article from CNN, entitled "No storybook ending after tycoon dolls up vilage," a millionaire adopted a US town, and attempted to give it a makeover.

As could be predicted, she ran into resistance, as the towns-people gradually developed a hostile resistance to her ideas and interventions.

I think she misunderstood her challenge -- it was not to change the physical environment, but instead to cause a shift in the culture of the people in the town.

This is a mistake that CEOs often make - believing that money can buy just about anything.
Sometimes it can buy hearts and minds, but when it does the kind of people who end up being bought are usually not the strongest characters, and they are not likely to stay bought for long.

This approach just does not work, as this tale amply demonstrates.

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