By Jillian Darwish

It might be a new house, new day, even a new Moleskine, but especially a New Year. Each presents the hope of creating new possibilities.

Of course, the opportunity to create new possibilities is with us all every minute. And actually, we don’t necessarily need a lot of new knowledge—we might just need to start acting. Acting on something we are deeply committed to.

With reinvigorated colleagues and staff after the holiday break, many of us will begin to think about launching culture initiatives. Because it is so critical to everything else, culture transformation is central to the work we do at Mayerson Academy (a non-profit professional learning organization based in Cincinnati).

What our team has discovered is that there are two (more!) surprising secrets that most people don’t know about culture transformation:

1. It starts With Personal Change

It begins with the person who wants to see the change making personal changes.

Quote by W. Edwards Deming, "There is no change without personal transformation"

It’s not about getting “those people to change,” but rather understanding the depth of your contribution to the current status and resolving to make personal changes first.

2. Start with the Big Questions

It’s critical to ask “the big questions” before seeking practical answers. The practical “how” questions are alluring because they provide the illusion of getting something done quickly. The practical questions have a place, but frequently we simply get there too fast.

Two “big questions” include,

  • If we don’t do this work, what is our future?
  • Are the reasons I am not taking action worth sacrificing that future?

With the new blank slate of 2017 in front of you, what possibilities for transformation are you energized by?

Stay tuned—next week, Mayerson Academy will launch a 4-week personal challenge for leaders interested in culture transformation (#5toThrive School Culture Campaign). If that is on your list of New Year’s Resolutions, we would love to have you join us!

For more, see:

Jillian Darwish is President of Mayerson Academy, a Cincinnati-based non-profit professional learning organization. Follow her on Twitter: @JillianDarwish


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