While contemplating the “New Normal” that the entire globe is learning to live with, I recalled the many times I’ve heard that any significant culture change requires two-to-three years to implement, and five years to fully take hold. In fact, a 2017 article in Forbes asserted that “Changing culture isn’t easy, of course, and it takes time. A McKinsey survey of some 3,000 executives found that only one in three organizational change efforts succeeds.” One in three!! How many of us have blindly accepted such assertions? How often have good ideas been sidelined because accomplishing them would require a major culture shift and “we just don’t have the time” (or the will) to make it happen? Well, I’m sure we can all pretty much agree that, even extreme culture change is not only possible, but can take hold very quickly, given the right environment.
Of course, the “right environment” includes full-blown, top-down, bottom-up, unwavering, and active support. If every level of management is properly incentivized to ensure that new expectations are followed and consequences are swift, consistent and fair, then sweeping change can be implemented – quickly – as we have already witnessed.
Environment: During the 2019 election campaign, the Liberal government seemed convinced that wide-sweeping environmental restrictions would be too difficult to implement and would face too much push-back. Within a month of the COVID shutdowns, Venetians could see underwater in their canals, global noise and light pollution were reduced, and impacts of the sudden drop in carbon emissions was visible in satellite imaging. Canadians I’ve spoken to are encouraged by how quickly the environment can begin to recover, so it’s time to consider making real change.
Justice & Racism: Justice in Canada is too often complicated by hidden agendas. Policing is not without highly disturbing incidents of violence against its citizens. No one who is true to themselves can assert that systemic racism doesn’t exist throughout this country. In fact, we have a broad portfolio of peoples who are subjected to overt or covert aggressions. A full and sweeping overhaul of the policies that protect aggression by officers is a necessary and urgent first step.
Economics: We now recognize that service jobs are truly critical to our way of life and yet grocery stores have already reduced wages back to pre-COVID levels. Should the wealthiest among us be allowed to take advantage of workers, or should business leaders be forced to pay a fair living wage? Should the wealthy be encouraged to avoid taxes and protect huge profits? Are huge profits ethical?
Future: There is much work to be done, and it’s time to start making a real difference. What changes will you actively advocate and support?
Chris MacLean, Editor-in-Chief