Here's a good article describing 8 reasons why culture change can fail.
In our experience, there is one stand out reason for failure. It is the only unequivocal reason why any culture change programme will fail; lack of CEO sponsorship. If you don't have the top person on board, and fully supportive of any changes, the escape route is too easy to take when the world becomes a messy, difficult and uncertain place to be.
1. Bonus them and they will come
2. Silver bullet
3. Understanding the importance of communication
4. Speed kills change programmes
5. Leader inconsistency and lack of congruence
6. Failure to move to a catalytic, coaching and facilitating leadership
7. Show a "light on the hill" not a "burning platform"
8. Toxicity in the top team
Read Collingwood's blog '4 key leadership principles to manage change' here.
Quite often, a goal of a cultural transformation is empowerment. Unfortunately, it is also evident that many leaders see driving the culture as their reason for being and expect people to be for them or against them. Their conversations are peppered with phrases such as “Get on the bus”. These leaders think that THEY can change YOU'RE behaviour when only YOU can do that. At worse this "driver" style undermines people’s self-belief, drives fear into the culture and creates the antitheses of empowerment. It also drives passivity, lack of creativity and innovation, and is is an antidote for accountability. That's why you always start with leader behaviour because this more than anything drives culture which in turn drives engagement and results (good or bad).