How to enhance work without another ‘program’

Published by HOPLAB by Southpac International

Ninety percent of an iceberg is under water representing our personal beliefs, values and attitudes.

Can a program change an organisation’s culture? Maybe, in the short term. But we have probably all experienced the ‘new program’ being rolled out at work; the new posters, training, activities. It is well received for a few weeks and then slowly it dies out….until the next program gets rolled out.

Programs are rolled out with good intent, but can have the opposite effect. Frontline workers can become complacent when every new program is perceived to be the new flavour of the month.

So how do we create an organisational change, without a new ‘program’? Research shows that in order to make sustainable changes, we need to make changes to our fundamental beliefs and values. It’s important to remember that change occurs as a process, not a one-off event.

In order to understand further, it’s helpful to think of an iceberg.

Only 10% of the ice can be seen, because it is above the water. This is the level a program works at. It’s the things we can physically see – posters, training, activities. Working at this level influences our behaviours, but only a small amount, and it rarely leads to a long-term change.

In contrast, 90% of an iceberg is underwater. We can’t see it – but it’s there. This represents our personal beliefs, values and attitudes. This area has the greatest influence over our behaviour. HOP works in this area. Human and Organisational Performance challenges the components below the water, leading to more sustainable, long-term changes.

Unless you look at what is below the water, nothing matters.

(Iceberg Analogy – Edward T. Hall, 1976)

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”
— William James

We can’t change attitudes through a rolled-out program. We need to make a fundamental shift in our mental model.

Want to learn more? 

The goal of the HOPLAB is to help organisations and individuals to learn and reflect

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