Saturday, August 30, 2003

NASA and culture change

I know little about NASA, but suspect that it is (rightly) one of the most exclusive elitist intellectual clubs on the planet (and off it). It is hardly typical of an American business.

I suspect that, just as nations get the kind of leadership they deserve, the people who comprise organizations get the kind of culture they deserve. The attitudes, beliefs, values, and behaviors that are reinforced or rewarded by peers or opinion leaders or managers become the norms. Aspects of culture can be changed by "the people", if there is a driving collective will to do so and some kind of catalyst to get things moving. Or they can be changed by one individual with enough zeal, courage, tenacity, and leadership. The latter is more likely to succeed than the former.

I do not believe that any culture anywhere can be changed by a mandate from a Congressional subcommittee.

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