Inducing change in big corps – or what a rhino and a meercat have in common


Clumsy like a rhino, this is the picture that comes into my mind when I ponder on how in former time change was induced in big corporations, especially when it comes to sustainable impact of common top-down initiatives. Is top-down still top notch in these times of ever increasing pace of change? Can it sufficiently nourish and grow change like in a field of crops?

Diving deeper into the matter I come to say: yes, the rhino – so top-down change initiatives – is still important: As a heavy weight it provides safety and legitimation which is required by employees to accept and actively embrace and live change. But there´s more that´s needed:

How did we really get change started and going at my company?

Well, at the beginning there were a few bold employees, who acted as agile as meercats. Experiencing a lot of attacks of braveness (#Mutanfall) themselves.  They were assiduously exploring new ways of working and leadership, tackling the worn-out snakes of traditional structure, management methods and ways of working/processes.

Who simply followed the call to #ownership by our CEO. And dared to access virgin soil (#Neuland).

And then others followed.

If you look at our company today, with its many and ever increasing grassroot initiatives, it is like a green, flourishing field of crops.


But like with a field of crops some watering and nourishing comes in handy. And here, top down and grasroot initiatives come to a fruitious collaboration: Grains, a self-organized team of official and inofficial change agents, catalysts, and influencers jointly  drives culture change initiatives and thus connects grasroot  to top-down initiatives.

And this is how in my company intrinsic motivation from grassroot initiatives, which is a prerequisite for sustainable change, successfully joins with legitimation and clear setting of goals by the leadership team.

And how a rhino can become as nimble as a meercat.

This is my contribution to the Intrinsify Wevent “Neue Wirtschaft”



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