A growing number of businesses now recognize that changing one’s corporate culture can drive innovation, increase productivity and create a more collaborative and transparent workplace. Unfortunately, all too often, cultural changes fail to take off or take hold. Why? The answer is simple. Too many organizations fail to recognize that culture hinges on habitat or organizational design. In short, too many organizations fail to recognize that to change your culture, you also need to change your habitat.

To appreciate the relationship between culture and habitat, it is useful to think about the problem in relation to a different type of habitat—a natural habitat. Since the early years of the 20th century, people have been flocking to parks and for many decades, visitors freely interacted with the wildlife. Until the 1970s, it wasn’t unusual to see snapshots of people feeding bears out of their car windows. As a result of this culture (a culture that tolerated human-wildlife interactions), many parks are now struggling to control wild animals that have grown to rely on human visitors for food. But how do you fix this problem? How do you change the culture of such an unbalanced habitat?

There are at least two obvious ways to tackle the problem. First, you can create policies that outlaw human contact with wildlife. The problem is that not everyone follows policies. Indeed, in this case, the policies have no impact on the animals at all. Second, you can build barriers to separate animals from humans. Unfortunately, even fences can be torn down and cut through. The only real fix is to attempt to change both the culture and habitat simultaneously. For example, alongside the introduction of cultural shifts (banning certain human behaviors), one may also need to redesign the park to block traffic and hiking in some areas. But the real question is this: What can organizations learn from the ongoing struggle in our national parks?

To begin, changing one’s culture is never an easy task. Culture is linked to habitat. In some cases, an established habitat may even kill an attempted cultural shift. Let’s say you want to change the culture of your workplace to make it more transparent and collaborative. After all, this is admirable goal and one that is consistently linked higher employee morale, lower employee turnover and higher rates of productivity. Everyone from your executive staff to administrative assistants agree that this is a great idea. But there’s a problem—your existing habitat.

Your organization has always been located in a physical space where executives occupy the top floor of a seven-story building. The executives work alone in offices that are barely breached by mid-level managers and other staff. In fact, few people in your organization have ever been on the seventh floor. Indeed, “the seventh floor” is simply used as a euphemism for “higher-level management.” As a result of your habitat (in this case, the physical environment in which your workplace is located), your push to introduce a more transparent and collaborative workplace culture fails. Put bluntly, the habitat or environment is not conducive to promoting either of your goals because ultimately, your organization’s decision makers and leaders are still working alone and entirely out of sight. Beyond a few annual parties, they never interact with employees. The hierarchy, in this case, is both literally and symbolically a force strong enough to kill a cultural shift everyone in the organization is committed to executing.

The fix is a simple one. You start to re-imagine your culture in relation to your habitat. You start to rethink the physical environment in ways that are most conducive to producing the cultural changes you desire. In short, you recognize that culture hinges on habitat.