Have you ever tried to introduce something new - like behavioral science, customer experience, or design thinking - into an organization?
Lots of people fail at this - not because they aren't experts, but because they don’t have experience navigating big corporate organizations.
The biggest mistake I've seen people make (and have made myself) is not getting to know the business and its culture before prescribing changes.
We know that people don’t like to change.
But they really don’t want to be told what to do by someone they don't see as "one of us."
It's down to a thinking trap called "Not Invented Here." That's when people reject new ideas or ways of working - not because they aren't good, but simply because they aren't theirs.
As the saying goes - new ideas are like toothbrushes. Everyone has them, everyone uses them, but nobody wants to use someone else's.
If you've been charged with getting a new way of thinking, working, or acting adapted inside a company, you need to approach the corporate culture like an anthropologist.
Here are 5 questions to get you started:
5 Questions to Answer to Get New Ideas Sold-in
🕵♀️ Observe how decisions get made - how long does it take, who needs to approve them?
🕵♀️ Observe the formal and informal power structures - whose title says they have power and who actually wields the power?
🕵♀️ Observe how money flows through the company - what roles and teams are seen as being a “cost center” versus a source of revenue?
🕵♀️ Observe the language that people use - what acronyms get thrown around, how formal is language, and what's NOT being said, or communicated between the lines.
🕵♀️ Observe what the culture values - people, attitudes, and most importantly, projects that you can add some value to with your "new" ideas and approach
Your goal is to learn the spoken and unspoken rules - before you ask people to break them.