This age old cliché assumes that the dog is too old, or too set in its ways, to change at this point in its life. So why bother – right? But what if the dog’s age, or ability to learn, was never the problem at all? What if the problem is that the change is being imposed, and does not stem from internal motivation or inclination? Yes, it is difficult to impose the learning of new tricks on an old dog but, if you shift the motivation and create a desire for change … well that old dog is able to learn a few new tricks after all, isn’t it.
The HBR article below is called “Changing Company Culture Requires a Movement, Not a Mandate.” I think it is a fantastic read for anyone who, in the back of their mind, or even right in the very forefront of their mind, holds a nagging intuition that top-down imposition of mandates for cultural change don’t work. Simply put “someone with authority can demand compliance, but they can’t dictate optimism, trust, conviction, or creativity.”
If you are interested in reading about ideas and practices that can help galvanize employees to create organizational change, or even smaller team movements towards change, then I highly suggest this read.