Changing a culture involves choices; what to keep, what to lose, what to grow.
Or does it?
Two helpful gurus suggest more contemplation.
Terry Pratchett was characteristically forthright:
‘If you do not know where you come from then you don’t know where you are, and if you don’t know where you are, then you don’t know where you’re going.
And if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re probably going wrong.’
‘If you want to know your past, look into your present condition.
If you want to know your future, look into your present actions.’
The contemplation route is little longer and a little harder.
It should be.
Changing course in a business, a career, a life, is always more nuanced than a mere traffic light exercise can describe.
And the keep / lose approach tends to play to our vanity; we can hide away parts of the story that don’t suit.
So brands with a long history are tempted to re-invent themselves by losing an important part of their story; businesses choose to forget their origins in the process of reinvention.
Successful and healthy change is steered through full awareness of all the story’s ingredients.
What those wise gurus are protecting us from as we try to change is simple.
They are saving us from denial.