What to do when your CEO resists culture change

Getting the CEO to embrace culture change can be a nightmare if he or she isn’t open to it. Here are some ideas for bringing leadership around.

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What do you do when the CEO is the bad apple ruining your organization’s culture?

This is a tough question, and though I don’t have a silver bullet answer, I can share some practical wisdom from my experience working with CEOs who did not see the value of culture. In some instances the CEO eventually came around and worked to lift the culture to another level. In other cases we didn’t get past the slide deck.

Traditional wisdom advises you to build a compelling case that shows culture’s return on investment. That makes sense. Present the facts showing the need for change and what the benefits are, and quantify the business value. This is the way to go if your executive is rational and logical. However, in some circumstances the rational approach doesn’t work:

Of course it’s disappointing when this happens. But don’t give up.

Working with CEOs resisting culture change

1. Understand your leaders—is skill or will interfering with their support?

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