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Practice 6: Discuss Assumptions Underlying Actions Dealing With Accountability

6 October, 2015 - 11:52

The fastest but perhaps most challenging way to change an organizational culture is to change the assumptions underlying that culture. Since culture is the “taken-for-granted” way of doing things within an organization, this is not an easy task. However, change-capable organizations are adept at naming the assumptions underlying organizational actions and changing those assumptions when they no longer serve the organization.

Surfacing and debating assumptions is the means by which cultural change is achieved, and paying attention to assumptions around accountability is a key way to make your organization more change capable. Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan note,

Debate on assumptions is one of the most critical parts of any operating review—not just the big-picture assumptions but assumptions specifically linked with their effects on the business, segment by segment, item by item. That’s a key part of what’s missing in the standard budget review. You cannot set realistic goals until you’ve debated the assumptions behind them. 1