A surprising culture change lesson from a taxi driver


Posted by Jerome Parisse-Brassens - 24 November, 2015

I jumped in a cab the other day in a hurry to get to a meeting and was greeted by a resonating “hello” and a smiling driver.

It was raining hard and I expected a more somber attitude. We started chatting and I made a remark about his positive outlook.

Culture change lesson from a taxi driver

This is what he had to say in response:

“ I choose to smile. I choose to be nice to people. Sometimes, people get in my cab and they are angry. Maybe they’ve had a fight with their wife, maybe they’ve argued with their boss, and they end up taking it on me and not treating me well. I understand where they are coming from, that’s a natural human behaviour, so I don’t take it personally. But I choose to remain nice to them and smile. Because if I am nice, it will make me happy. I believe that if you give to the world, the world will give back to you, one way or the other. So better be nice to everyone. And it’s so much easier to be nice than to be mean.”

I couldn’t agree more. My taxi driver was applying one of the concepts we use at Walking the Talk when helping clients with their culture work. We call it the BE-DO-HAVE model.

It goes like this: What we have in life comes from what we do, and what we do is driven by our beliefs, values and emotions (we call this the BE level). So if we want to change what we have, we need to change what we do, and to change what we do, we need to change our belief system, because it drives our actions. Simple, isn’t it?

At the BE level, the taxi driver believed that you need to give to receive. This drove him to be nice and smile to people (DO), and this behaviour made him happier (HAVE).

The BE-DO-HAVE model is useful when working on culture in organisations. To have a different business outcome, you need people to behave differently, and for them to behave differently, they need to change their belief system. So it is the BE level that needs to be targeted if we want to see meaningful and sustainable change.
Have you ever used this model in your business to create long-lasting change?


Topics: Be Do Have, Behaviour change, Jerome Parisse-Brassens

Recent Posts

Tips for placing humans at the centre of AI and Digital Transformation

read more

Culture for AI: The human needs to be placed at the centre

read more

The significant shift we are seeing in culture today (Video)

read more