Sometimes culture is life or death

Back in January I shared a video that wasn’t technically about data culture, but which I believed was a near-perfect analogy for the evolution of a data culture. Now I’d like to share another one. It’s a short and thoughtful six minute video that I hope you’ll take the time to watch.

Consider this question from the video: “How much freedom is too much? How much is not enough?” Then consider the answer: it depends.

In the first post in my data culture series, I included this footnote:

I strongly believe that pain is a fundamental precursor to significant change. If there is no pain, there is no motivation to change. Only when the pain of not changing exceeds the perceived pain of going through the change will most people and organizations consider giving up the status quo. There are occasional exceptions, but in my experience these are very rare.

Bermuda changed, because the pain of not changing was too great. They realized that the traditional, centralized approach[1] would not work for them, so they developed a distributed, decentralized approach that would work.

This change meant that individuals needed to do some of the things that most of us would expect the a government agency to do. This change meant that individuals gave up some freedom that most of us[2] have always taken for granted.

This change also kept those individuals from dying.

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If you skipped over the video and just read to this point, please go back up and watch it now. Go. Listen to the words about Bermuda, and think about how your organization uses data. Think about how hard change is – who accepts it, and who pushes back.

Evan Hadfield, the young man behind the Rare Earth channel on YouTube, touches on a lot of the nuance and balance and conflict that makes culture change so difficult. A lot of his videos touch on painful historical topics which he explores and questions, but often without answers to those questions. I love it[3], and watch every video he releases. If you like this blog for more than just the data stuff, odds are you’ll love it too.


[1] For them it was about water management. For you it might be about data. Work with me here.

[2] If you have a homeowners association that mandates and restricts the exterior of your home, you may be in the exception on this one.

[3] I first discovered the channel when YouTube recommended this video. I ignored it for weeks, but when I finally gave in and watched it the first time I was instantly hooked.

One thought on “Sometimes culture is life or death

  1. Russel Loski

    Water on Bermuda causes a related restriction on freedom. My landlady was very upset when my wife was with me for two weeks. Just think of the water my wife was using. I didn’t get my landlady’s perspective until I had lived there one year.

    Like

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