Culturally Intelligent Change: The Ultimate Guide to The People Side of Change

15 Key Culture Actions to Supplement Your Change Approach and Enable Change Success
  • Drive Sustainable Results. Culturally Intelligent Change is a handbook that explains how understanding and using the elements of culture as a guide will allow you to minimize or avoid the culture pitfalls that create change resistance, enabling you to drive sustainable change results.
  • Take Action. The 15 Key Culture Actions can be used to supplement your current change approach, or as a checklist for increasing change success. This is not a culture change methodology - this is an action list to help your change initiatives be more successful.
  • Be Successful. If you want to learn specific steps to leverage culture and increase the effectiveness of your change management methodology, this handbook is meant for you!

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A CEO successful at change

Fortune 500 Insurance Company

“We needed to look at our culture. We were stodgy. We had to find out whether our value system was helping or hindering what our employees needed to embrace to get where we needed to go. We started with our values and beliefs so we could have a sustainable change going forward. As we made changes, we needed to understand the cultural implications in the organization. Being intentional about our culture helped our strategic change be successful.”

Keys to Successful Change

There are 15 Key Culture Actions that will increase your change management success by using culture as a change lever. These culture actions are intended to be layered into an existing change approach. They can also be used as a checklist to ensure that these critical actions are part of the Change Management Strategy and Plans.

As you read through the 15 Key Culture Actions described in Culturally Intelligent Change, refer to the diagram inside the front cover. This will indicate where the action is aligned to the change processes. The Association of Change Management Professionals developed the Standard for Change Management Practice which is available as a free download at

The Standard identifies five process groups used to organize and elaborate on the processes performed by change management practitioners during change initiatives. They include: Evaluate Change Impact and Organizational Readiness, Formulate the Change Management Strategy, Develop the Change Management Plan, Execute the Change Management Plan, and Complete the Change Management Effort.

Map the change methodology being used to the ACMP Standard for Change management, and then apply the 15 Key Culture Actions outlined in Culturally Intelligent Change.

Culture is an underutilized change lever

Survey Says!

According to a survey on culture and change management by the Katzenbach Center, only about half of transformation initiatives accomplish and sustain their goals. Less than 1/4 of the respondents said their companies used the existing culture as a source of energy and influence during the change effort. The study found that cultural levers were at least 2x as likely to have played a role in change programs that had succeeded.

The bad news is...

95% of all change management plans fail to incorporate the full value of culture.

Two Objectives of Culturally Intelligent Change

Objective 1

Manage, minimize or avoid culture flashpoints that create change resistance.

Objective 2

Maximize the achievement of business objectives by using cultural intelligence to drive sustainable change results.

About the Authors: Donna Brighton

Donna is a culture change strategist, leadership coach, and keynote speaker. She helps other leaders lead from the exponential power that comes from the core of who they are, rather than trying to fit into a leadership mold.

She helped establish and lead the Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) for its first 9 years. Under Donna’s leadership, ACMP launched The Standard for Change Management and the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.

Donna advises leaders on how to solidify change more rapidly and successfully through the power of Culturally Intelligent Change. As a co-creator of the Flourishing Workplace, she helps organizations get clear on the culture they need to have in order to achieve their objectives, then helps them move towards that ideal.

Donna holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership as well as an advanced certification in Organizational Change Management.

About the Authors: Scott Beilke

Scott is an culture change strategist, executive coach, advisor and Culture University faculty member. He has worked with executive teams and boards of large, mid-market and emerging organizations throughout the United States.

Prior to his current work, he was a Senior Executive of a Wisconsin-based enterprise that was ranked 5th on the Inc. Magazine list of the nation’s 500 fastest growing privately held companies. He has shared some of his experiences leading culture change, helping senior leaders accelerate organizational strategy and resolve tough organizational culture challenges in the 2014 book “Build the Culture Advantage.” 

In addition to his coaching, advisory, and consulting work, he sits on boards and mentors young entrepreneurs and executives. Scott holds an advanced certification in Organizational Change Management and is the founding President of the Midwest Chapter of the Association of Change Management Professionals.

A Guide to More Successful Change


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Free with your purchase - Culturally Intelligent Change Checklist

We’ve also distilled these ideas into a checklist that enables you to apply the 15 Key Culture Actions to your projects.

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