Neil Tambe

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I'm a Detroiter who happens to enjoy writing, national parks, orange juice, the performing arts, and fanciful socks. More than anything though, I aspire to be a good husband, father, and citizen.

It’s hard to be the yogurt

Being Indian, I have seen how yogurt is made, up close. My parents would make it at home. Here’s how it works.  

First you put milk in a vessel. Then, you take a spoon of yogurt (you need the live culture to start the reaction) and put it in the vessel. Then you add gentle heat to the vessel; my parents always used a yogurt maker.

Then you give it time. The heat helps the culture from the spoonful of yogurt react with the milk. Eventually the milk becomes yogurt. 

This is how culture change really works. A new active idea enters a stable environment, and slowly changes it over time. This is harder than it sounds.

Culture change requires steady heat. In organizations, this equates to a leadership team that allows change to happen and provides the time and money to support it.  

You also need the spoonful of yogurt with its strand of active culture. In organizations, this is the change agent that’s willing to be different for a long time, slowing changing the environment to something new, one interaction at a time.

It’s hard to be the yogurt. But for the culture to change, someone has to be.  

Please do say hello: neil.tambe[at]gmail[dot]com