changing your culture

What’s Your Big Idea?

Lori Hart, PhD
Lori Hart, PhD
Director of Educational Initiatives

Have you ever had a big idea? How did it come about? I have a theory that big ideas come over time, experience, knowledge, and the assistance of other brain power. Prior to coming to work with Holmes Murphy Fraternal Practice last November, I spent 15 years working for Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity and, in this blog, I’d like to share my big idea that I bring to the table in hopes our fraternal clients will benefit.

If you’ve ever been to a train station in Europe and looked down or listened to the programmed message, you might be familiar with the phrase “Mind the Gap.” It reminds passengers to take caution while crossing a gap between the train door and the station platform. The first time I heard my colleague, Steve Whitby, use this in a training, I thought it was brilliant yet simple. When an organization has a problem, you have to find the gaps before you can implement a solution. This idea is simple and far different than the current demand of university administrators asking for a “culture change” as incidents of fraternity/sorority misconduct continue to attract attention.

Now intersect “Mind the Gap” with a “Culture Change”… a simple phrase and yet also a complex phrase. For an environment to change, organizations, people, and leaders must mind the gap and truly understand the problems and contributing factors. I find myself continually saying the following phrases with our clients:

  • What are the real factors causing the challenge/problem?
  • What can we learn from claims? What story do our claims tell us?
  • Change doesn’t happen by throwing darts at a problem.
  • Until you accurately understand your problems, you cannot expect a change.
  • Policy alone will not change the practice of students.

And my BIG IDEA…for a culture to actually change, you have to have alignment in five key areas:

  • PHILOSOPHY of the organization drives the POLICY;
  • POLICY of the organization drives the PROCEDURES (resources);
  • EDUCATION strategy drives ENFORCEMENT (accountability)

For the other brilliant minds who helped shaped this idea (Mark Timmes and Justin Angotti), we call this the 3P2E approach. A true analysis in these five areas helps you look at something through more than just one lens. It helps you mind the gap and perhaps impact the culture. If you align those five areas, I believe you have a better attempt at actually changing the culture. Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity is implementing this approach. Their Executive Vice President, Robert Riggs, provided me with some great feedback on this approach. “The 3P2E strategy provides us with an easy-to-follow framework to align every aspect of our Fraternity with our purpose. It’s given us clarity to align resources, programs, and energy to help us achieve who we want to be.”

So, as you move forward, I encourage you to mind the gap, change your culture, and figure out your next BIG IDEA that contributes to the success of our clients and Holmes Murphy. If you would like more information on this process, feel free to reach out to me at

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