Many leaders had asked me this question: “How do we change or improve our organization’s culture?” Indeed, culture is an elusive thing that is not easy to change!

 One of my favorite examples comes from my military days as a recruit. During those days, on a daily basis, we were instructed to make our beds to the prescribed strict standards. We also need to keep our cabinet organized, keep our uniform and boots shiny, shave daily and clean our dear rifle every night even if we don’t fire any shots.

 As a young guy at the age of 20, I was wondering what’s the hack about making up my bed, my cabinet, my uniforms and shaving got to do with being a soldier? A soldier is supposed to learn how fight a battle and not get too carried away with little things like making my bed!

A moment for your thoughts before reading on….

Most people should have recognized the importance of discipline for a soldier. Especially transforming soldiers from “boys to men”. Without discipline and ability to work together cohesively as a team, many soldiers would be killed by friendly fires before even engaging the enemy!

The same goes for trying to shape an organization’s culture. We need to develop the right system and structure to set the routine to inculcate the formation of right habits. Leaders need to be involved in their routine operations walks to learn what is happening and to correct/instill the right behavior.


I remembered a case many years back where one of my senior leaders from our US headquarter visited 2 our operations sites in Asia and asked me a question: “Why is Site-A so well organized whereas Site-B is quite messy?” I replied with a simple sentence:“What you saw is a reflection of leaders’ expectation at each factory.”  If leaders do not walk the ground and set the right expectations and behavior, the next lower-tier leaders and people on the ground are going think and feel that there’s nothing wrong with being messy.

Stay Tuned for more….


This is a follow-on article from the one written last week :

Note : I am a Lean Master and Six Sigma Master Black Belt Consultant based in Singapore. I am also very active in Data Analytics and Programming. Individuals or Companies interested to learn more or exchange ideas about Lean, Six Sigma and Analytics can drop me a note by Linkedin messaging or to my personal email :