Organisations throughout the world embark on change initiatives. Some call them change, others projects and programs, while the current fashion is to put them under a banner of transformation.
Whatever they call it, most organisations spend a lot of time working out the thing they are changing. New systems, mergers, market positioning, decision-making, culture. Most also put effort into change management. However, most change effort doesn’t result in the, well, result they were looking for.
Truth is, change is only ever contemplated when people at or near the top want those below them to participate in delivering different results. That’s where it starts to get tricky. People don’t feel free to tell the truth about the reason for change. Here’s an example of communication versus truth.
- ‘We want to lower overheads by lowering headcount’ is sometimes explained as – ‘we want to make this a dynamic, rewarding place for everyone to work’. Or sometimes as, ‘our people will be freed up to do higher value work’.
So how do you effect change? The best thing to focus on is ‘what’ is changing. This gets hard. Hard because most organisations approach the desire for change with a limited tool kit and a ‘one-way suits all’ method. The fact is that change needs to be approached differently depending on what is changing.
And, BTW, one of the ‘whats’ to change is a lot simpler than the others.
The following clip illustrates the four key ‘whats’ of change.
Can you think of any others?
Which of the four do you think is the easiest?