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Breckenridge Institute - Harnessing the Power of Culture

Over 85% of all organizational performance problems are in the structures, systems, and culture in which people work – put good people in bad systems you get poor performance. Trying to improve performance by reorganizing, changing leadership, implementing IT infrastructure, downsizing, or implementing new management programs creates change, but tends to solve one problem and unintentionally create others.

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What Is Organizational Transformation?

As defined in the business literature, organizational transformation refers to deep, fundamental, (often radical) changes in an organization’s mission, structures, systems, culture, processes, and ways-of-working, as opposed to incremental improvements. This standard definition of transformation normally assumes that some form of consolidation, reengineering, restructuring, or organizational culture change occurs as a part of (or the driver for) a transformation process. As commonly described, transformation initiatives are normally undertaken in response to the forces and demands of the business environment which require that an organization radically change how it does business and how it functions in order to survive in the market place. Over the last 25 years, this kind of organizational transformation has been called many things including, reengineering, rightsizing, and more recently cultural change. But the basic goal of all these approaches has been more or less the same; e.g., to make fundamental changes in how a company organizes and uses its human, material, and financial resources to act on (and react to) the frenetic pace of change in the business environment.

But the day-to-day experience of leading and managing organizations teaches us that the process of transformation is not always as “dramatic” and “radical” as has been portrayed in the choreographed case-studies described in the business literature. Rather, organizational and behavioral transformation is a property of all authentic change at the individual, interpersonal, departmental, and organizational levels. From the human challenges of mastering the skills required to dismantle a piece of equipment, gaining deeper insight into leading and managing more effectively, resolving destructive conflict between departments or organizations, or improving communication and building trust between Federal funding agencies and their contractors; to the organizational  challenges of improving, replacing, or reconfiguring a department or entire organization’s structures, systems, and culture, the process of organizational and behavioral transformation is the underlying mechanism of all deep, meaningful, sustainable change.

Organizational transformation has two elements: change and transition. The change required to improve, replace, or reconfigure an organization’s structures, systems, and resources in response to customer demands and the frenetic pace of change in the external environment is situational and tends to happen quickly; e.g., functional “silos” are consolidated with new leadership, organization charts are reconfigured so the right people work together on the right tasks to get the job done, and managers are directed to achieve more aggressive goals with fewer human, financial, and material resources. Transition is the protracted cultural, psychological, and behavioral process that individual managers and staff members go through to learn new ways-of-working and to let go of the old organizational reality and identity that they had before the change took place. Over time, managers and staff members must gain ownership in (and come to terms with) what their new role in the new organization demands of them. The most important lesson to be learned from hundreds of documented transformation initiatives is the necessity to manage both change and transition throughout the entire organizational transformation process.

The Breckenridge Institute® is a management consulting firm that helps leaders and managers transform their organizations and the people in them. The Institute uses its expertise in the areas listed below to help leaders and managers become catalysts for positive change and organizational transformation:

  • Developing Strategy
  • Improving Execution and Operations
  • Consolidation and Transformation
  • Organizational Assessments
  • Financial and Budget Analysis
  • Optimizing Performance in Compliance Environments
  • Changing Organizational Culture
  • Personality and Career Assessments
  • Leadership Development
  • Improving Communications and Trust
  • Training, Mentoring, and Coaching
  • Meeting and Process Facilitation

The Breckenridge Institute® has extensive experience working within the Department of Energy (DOE) complex, and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) nuclear weapons complex (Nuclear Security Enterprise) in the areas of organization development, organizational transformation, and organizational culture.

Since 1995, Breckenridge Institute’s staff of technical and business professionals has been providing the highest levels of service, competence, quality, and value to clients by combining our extensive expertise in organizational transformation and organizational development, with our portfolio of research-based methodologies and validated assessment tools. The Breckenridge Institute® is a member of the Association of Test Publishers (APT) and the Energy Facility Contractors Group (EFCOG). The Breckenridge Institute® is a GSA approved contractor, with a MOBIS Schedule 874 and GSA Advantage Number GS10F0232L. The Breckenridge Institute’s areas of expertise are classified under NAICS Code 541611 (Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services).

Does Your Organization’s Culture Act Like an Invisible Bureaucracy?

Most managers struggle against the flow of overly complex systems and are frustrated by an invisible force that undermines their attempts to make positive change. Their instincts tell them that the organization’s structures, systems, and culture are preventing them from getting the results they want, but “culture” has remained one of the least understood aspects of organizational life because it can act like an Invisible Bureaucracy™ that frustrates and undermines organizational performance. The day-to-day reality of Invisible Bureaucracy™ manifests itself in a number of recurring and troubling questions:

  • Why is it so difficult for some organizations to make decisions, and why (once made) do so many decisions go unimplemented?
  • Why do most organizations have a gap between the formal rules for how things get done, and the informal rules for how things really get done?
  • Why does vital business information get filtered, altered, or stopped as it moves up and down through the organizational structure?
  • Why do projects that seem to have the full support of top managers and key personnel die a slow death and no one knows what happened to them?
  • Why are some organizations able to change in the face of forces and threats from the external environment while others seem to have “Blind Spots” about these issues and fall prey to them over and over again?
  • Why do the universal principles of organization development seem to work in some organizations, but not in others?
  • Why do change initiatives so often show failed or marginal results?
  • Why are so many organizations driven by fear, rather than being motivated by trust?

Understanding how the forces of Invisible Bureaucracy™ actually work helps leaders and managers become catalysts for positive change and organizational transformation. Many of the principles, practices, methodologies, and tools of transformation are described in Mark Bodnarczuk’s book, Making Invisible Bureaucracy Visible: A Guide to Assessing and Changing Organizational Culture.

making invisible bureaucracy visible book

Making Invisible Bureaucracy Visible is available on, or at your local bookstore.

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Mark Bodnarczuk is the Executive Director of the Breckenridge Institute®, a management consulting firm that helps organizations get better results through diagnosis. The Breckenridge Institute® is based in Boulder Colorado. The Breckenridge Institute’s staff of technical and business professionals has been providing the highest levels of service, competence, quality, and value to our clients since 1995 by combining our extensive expertise in actually improving organizational and individual performance, with our portfolio of research-based methodologies and validated assessment tools. Previously, Mark Bodnarczuk was on the staff in the Director’s Office at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) from 1980 through 1992, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory from 1992 until 1996 when he founded the Breckenridge Institute®. While at the University of Chicago, his research focused on the sociology and culture of large physics collaborations at Fermilab. He is an author, researcher, consultant, teacher, and facilitator with more than twenty years of experience working with companies in the area of high-tech, basic and applied research, pharmaceuticals, health care, retail as well as government and non-profit organizations. Mark has published widely in the areas of organizational culture and leadership development and is the author of a number of books including, Making Invisible Bureaucracy Visible: A Guide to Assessing and Changing Organizational Culture; The Breckenridge Enneagram: A Guide to Personal and Professional Growth; and Diving In: Discovering Who You Are In the Second Half of Life. Mark has published numerous articles on the leadership and management of science and the cultural dimensions of laboratory life. Mark is also the author of a number of psychometrically validated instruments including, the Breckenridge Type Indicator™ (BTI™) which is the most valid and reliable on-line Enneagram assessment instrument available; and the Breckenridge Culture Indicator™ (BCI™) which provides a quantitative and qualitative measure of organizational culture with high levels of reliability, validity, and overall statistical precision. Mark is a professional-level member of the International Society of Performance Improvement (ISPI) and the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC). He has a BA from Mid-America University, an MA from Wheaton College, and an AM from the University of Chicago. Also visit

The Breckenridge Institute® has key partnerships with the following organizations and websites:;;;;;;;;;;;;

Better Results through Diagnosis™, Harnessing the Power of Culture™, Business Systems Inventory™, BSI™, Culture Talk™, Harnessing Process™, Inner and Outer Labyrinth™, Breckenridge Culture Builder™, BCB™, Breckenridge Culture Indicator™, BCI™, Organizational Transformation Index™, OTI™, Organizational Leadership Index™, (OLI™), Breckenridge Performance Indicator™, BPI™, Breckenridge Financial Indicator™, BFI™, Cultural Linguistic Analysis Model™, (CLAM™), What Good Is Organizational Culture?™, Breckenridge Loneliness Report™ (BLR™), What Good Is Loneliness™, Breckenridge Transformation Study™, BTS™, Breckenridge Enneagram™, Enneagram Time™, Breckenridge Relationship Indicator™, BRI™, Breckenridge Type Indicator™, BTI™, Sikora Strategy Preference Indicator™, SikoraSPI™, We Deliver Insights, Change, Results™, Individual-Collective Paradox™, Essential Tension™, Cultural Envelope™, Journal of Organizational Culture™, Island of Excellence®, Research Consortium on Organizational Culture™, Certified Culture Consultant™, CCC™, Breckenridge Work-Group Indicator™, BWI™, Breckenridge Culture Model™, Loneliness Paradigm™, Breckenridge Loneliness Project™, Personality In Context™, Trim Tab™, Personality Portfolio™, Breckenridge Institute Scuba Club™, Breckenridge Change Model™, Organizational Entrapment™, Organizational Analysis™, Organizational Analyst™,Organizational Impasse™, Organizational Impasse Indicator™, Organizational Alignment System™ (OAS™), Organizational Physician™, Pragmatic Paradox™, Organizational Trust Index™, Weaving a Fabric of Trust™, Invisible Bureaucracy™, Personality Mosaic™, Sanctified for God’s Use™, Spectator Role™, Intended Culture™, Unintended Culture™, Four Ways of Working™ , Culture Equation™, Breckenridge Equation™, Breckenridge Change Equation™, Culture Change Equation™, DCT Process™, Change-Lever™, Organizational Alignment Indicator™ (OAI™), Interaction Equation™, POI ‹—› COI ‹—› ROI = Current Results™, Authenticity In Context™, POI ‹—› COI ‹—› ROI X EOI = Desired Results™, Cultural Mosaic™, Personality Equation™, Personality Change Equation™, Exploring Personality™, Pedagogical Device™, The Inner People™, Leadership Development in Context™, Organizational Focus Indicator™ (OFI™) along with the graph of the 9 types and the graph of the 3 instincts show below are all Trademarks of the Breckenridge Institute®.