Building a Culture of Change: Strategies for Leaders

Building a Culture of Change: Strategies for Leaders

GUEST POST from Chateau G Pato

Change is an inevitable part of any organization’s growth and success. Today, more than ever, leaders need to build and nurture a culture that embraces change, adaptability, and innovation. This article explores strategies that leaders can adopt to create a culture of change within their organizations, as evidenced by two compelling case studies.

Case Study 1 – Google’s 20% Time Policy

Google, one of the most innovative companies in the world, has a culture that emphasizes experimentation and risk-taking. One of their most well-known strategies for fostering a culture of change is its “20% Time” policy. This policy encourages employees to spend 20% of their work time pursuing projects and ideas that are not necessarily part of their assigned responsibilities. This approach has led to several significant innovations, such as Gmail and Google Maps. By allowing employees the freedom to explore and take risks, Google creates a culture that values change and empowers employees to drive it.

Leaders looking to build a culture of change can adopt similar strategies by encouraging experimentation and providing employees with the freedom to explore ideas outside of their immediate scope. This not only fosters creativity and innovation but also instills a sense of ownership and engagement among employees.

Case Study 2 – Zappos’ Holacracy

Zappos, the online shoe and clothing retailer, is known for its unique approach to organizational structure. In 2013, the company implemented a management philosophy called Holacracy, which replaces traditional top-down hierarchy with self-organizing teams. This system encourages continuous change, adaptability, and entrepreneurship.

By implementing Holacracy, Zappos allowed employees to have more autonomy and decision-making power, thereby empowering them to take ownership of their work. This approach has enabled the company to quickly adapt to changing market trends and customer demands. Zappos’ culture of change is built on the belief that every employee can contribute to the organization’s success and has the ability to drive positive change.

Leaders can learn from Zappos’ example by adopting a more decentralized approach to decision-making and empowering employees to take ownership of their roles. This not only motivates individuals but also enables the organization to quickly respond to changing environments and stay ahead of the competition.


Building a culture of change requires leaders to prioritize flexibility, innovation, and adaptability. Google’s “20% Time” policy and Zappos’ implementation of Holacracy provide valuable insights into fostering a culture that embraces change. By encouraging experimentation, empowering employees, and enabling decentralized decision-making, leaders can create an environment that not only welcomes change but also thrives on it. Embracing change is no longer an option for organizations; it is a necessity for survival and success in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape.

SPECIAL BONUS: Braden Kelley’s Problem Finding Canvas can be a super useful starting point for doing design thinking or human-centered design.

“The Problem Finding Canvas should help you investigate a handful of areas to explore, choose the one most important to you, extract all of the potential challenges and opportunities and choose one to prioritize.”

Image credit: Pixabay

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