When we think about changing organizational culture, what comes to mind first is a big project, involving an enormous amount of efforts on all organizational levels. This is caused by the fact that culture is a very complex and robust system, so it is really hard to change. As Peter Drucker said, “Culture eats strategy on breakfast”. When this view meets the change management mindset, that consider change as something temporary that has to be managed, this creates all sorts of culture improvement projects (most of which will fail).
Malcolm Gladwell in his book “The tipping point. How small changes make big differences” introduced the idea of viewing cultural change as epidemic. These two have a lot in common: they both start with some small group of people, eventually spreading within a whole population, and they mostly have similar dynamics. This theory leads us to the idea that sometimes it’s not the scale of your changing efforts that defines the success or a failure of the change, rather it is the character of the change itself that really matters.