You can have a great business idea, strategy, and crafty tactics to stimulate growth. However, if you do not change your culture, they will not work. Becoming more customer-centric is an ideal way to improve your odds for success after COVID — especially, if you wish to advance customer loyalty and retention. Former brands like Circuit City, Sears, Blockbuster, Kodak, and others would likely be here today if they had adjusted, in this direction.


Rules to exert influence on real cultural change

  1. Be specific as to why your business needs to change
  2. Accept that making a cultural change is a long-term goal
  3. Be clear on your vision for the future
  4. Accept the fact that “you cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs”
  5. Lead from the top


Be specific why your business needs to change

If your employees think business-as-usual is working, no one will bother to make changes — it is too inconvenient and uncomfortable. Using weight-loss as an example, most who try, fail. People successful with weight-loss are very specific as to why they wish to lose the weight. For a specific event, e.g., a wedding or class reunion. The special event is the specific reason they want to lose the weight. In other words, you are more willing to take a chance because you can see that the status quo threatens to destroy your success.



Making a cultural change is a long-term goal

Cultural changes always take longer than you think. It’s similar to estimating the time it should take to accomplish other tasks. Always multiply your time estimate by two — especially if you want to see it through completion.


Be clear on your vision for the future

Being able to articulate your vision/philosophy for the future is crucial. It is also vital that you know what you want the change to do. I suggest you break it down into the new things you want to do and the old stuff you want to stop. Also include a way to measure it.


“You cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs”


Consider the teachings of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, you have to choose your battles. You cannot win every battle, so you need to select the crucial ones. From a business perspective, that can mean breaking a few eggs to make your Customer Experience omelet. In other words, you might have to fire someone who does not want to comply with the cultural change. Removing them sends a strong signal that you are serious about your program for change. I would not fire someone simply as a matter of course, rather, only if they are undermining what you are doing.


Lead from the top

In Colin Shaw’s book, Happy Employees Make Happy Customers, he makes the point that “people often stay in jobs because of great managers, and leave because of poor ones.”


Your words and actions must be the same

If you want to make a cultural change you must live it. Principles are great, but they mean nothing unless you sacrifice something for them. Make sure that what you are doing is what you are asking others to do.





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Alan Adler coaches individuals and successful high-performing business leaders to help accelerate their personal and professional growth. In addition to one-on-one coaching, Alan hosts noncompetitive, confidential, business-owner mentor advisory groups. Click here to schedule a meeting with him. As an entrepreneur, he has started three businesses, including his current, Alan Adler & Associates, LLC. His experience also includes working in marketing communication roles, (with senior management) at two of the largest corporations in the world.  You can find his books, Getting the Fish to Swim to YOU & Keeping Them in YOUR Boat, and UpStream, on Amazon. Alan lives in Huntersville, NC with his wife Mindy. They have two grown children, two grandchildren, and a rescue dog named Bentley.






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