Wells Fargo and Its Culture Redesign

In the book, SUNDAY ON THE HILL, I’ve written about the unfortunate effects that were the result of Wells’ leadership not monitoring the culture of the organization. My friend and fellow-organizational psychologist Alan Weiss wrote recently to assert that “cultures’ of organizations actually equate to the “beliefs’ of their members. Thus, to change an organization’s culture means that one must change the beliefs of its employees. This can be done in a variety of ways. I always say that there are “slower” ways and “quicker” ways to change beliefs in organizations. One of the quicker ways that change beliefs in short order is to dismiss offending employees – those who persist in conducting processes that counter the role of the organization. That is exactly what Wells is proceeding to do. This past Tuesday, Wells Fargo announced that it had fired four executives in its retail-banking operation. Clearly, these were some of the people who had endorsed the unfortunate actions against customers at Wells. By this time, the message of culture should be clear to all other employees: Wells does not endorse nor condone actions that are meant to defraud or misinform customers. Our canine friends know how to enforce beliefs – they bark at those who are prone to misperform or who dare to attack the conduct of our family’s organization. (See, for example, the story of Molly and her reaction to those who dare to breech the boundaries of our vehicles.)

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