Most people understand the concept of inertia – once something gets going it requires less effort to keep it going that way. Conversely, if something is heading in a given direction at great speed, it takes a lot of energy and effort to make it go another direction.
I was thinking about how this applies to the culture of an organisation. Once a culture (good or bad) is established it is hard to change and it takes little effort to keep it the way it is – your business is subjected to ‘cultural inertia’.
So once an unwanted culture has been created it takes a lot of effort and energy to turn it around. People have to commit to it and ensure the resources and leadership is provided for as long as it takes to make the change. Think of it like trying to push a slow moving car in another direction. One person can’t do it, but get enough people together working towards the same goal and it can be done. And the good news? Once that car is moving in the other direction it requires less effort to keep it going that way. If you get it going fast enough in the right direction, it requires very little effort to maintain.
The parallel to culture? Creating a good culture takes effort, but once it is established it is easier to maintain. Once it is embedded, it has its own cultural inertia and it pulls people along with it.
Invest time and effort in creating a positive cultural inertia in your business and see where it takes you.