The new pope is up for a big cultural change


Will the next pope change the course of history for the Catholic Church? Whether or not, he’s up for a big change at the top regions of the Church.

Today at 7 PM the magical words habemus papam sounded at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City with the announcement of the new pope of the Catholic Church, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as pope Franciscus I. At the moment of writing it’s still not clear what the vision of pope Franciscus I will be, but we can be sure he is up for a big cultural challenge.

Pope Franciscus I

Pope Franciscus I

Culture is something is something fuzzy, it’s hard to make tangible. They even say there is no such thing as culture, only behaviors. You could conclude that culture is mere the sum of all behaviors. There are several ways to change culture in large organisations. One is the top down approach, often used for strategy projects which include big mergers or massive layoffs. The other approach is more bottom-up, the culture change is generated at the work floor and gets the masses moving. History learns us that there is no one approach for doing a cultural change, you need to work on both areas.

Working on both areas will be the challenge for the Catholic Church, since the bottom-up change has already begun. During the last decades, the culture in most part of the world changed at lot, sometimes against the will of the Church. Topics like sex before marriage, homosexuality, aids, divorce and abortion are more generally accepted now. The world has adapted to it, but the Catholic Church keeps on standing firm against it. There’s a big change going on, but the management of the Catholic Church is still sitting in its dungeon of denial, a pitfall of the Denial phase in the change process.

The management of the Catholic Church, that is the pope(s) and his cardinals, holding on to ancient beliefs, together with the many cases of sexual abuse of the representatives of the Catholic Church hasn’t been good for its popularity. During the years the Church saw its number of followers decline heavily.

The burning dream of the Catholic Church has become a burning platform and they need to jump. When the Church will not adapt its policy to the bottom-up culture change that is happening, they will lose the last of their followers. To get back in the leading position, the Catholic Church needs a less conservative pope who sets focus back to where it was before: faith and helping people with the impact of religion to their daily lives.

Additional reading

CNN – A new pope

The House of Change

The Economist – Management tips for the pope

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2 thoughts on “The new pope is up for a big cultural change

  1. […] Focus je op het bereiken van iets beters in plaats van iets anders af te geraken. Cfr. burning platform vs burning dream. […]

  2. […] people in your organisation. Instead of a “burning platform”, you can speak of a “burning dream“. Confirm the problems that are there, but emphasize that the problems are part of the past […]

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