Change and Steady State

Aug 5, 2019

Much has been written about ‘change’ in organisations as if change is something ‘extra’.  There may have been times in the distant past when slow communications, slow technological development, and slow cross-fertilisation of ideas allowed businesses to stand still.  Even then however not forever, not for long.

“Change is part of the day job,” but it seldom actually works that way…

Here’s one certain tell-tale of a company culture in which change will never work: The boss pretends to be behind the change, but isn’t really. This can arise for several reasons some of which are surprisingly common (it wasn’t their idea; they didn’t like the author of the idea; they know the senior executives will ‘poo-poo’ it).

Here’s another: Company culture — often unknowingly — suppresses ideas and initiatives (‘it’s not the way we do things around here’ ; ideas don’t originate below the Chief Executive).

(extract from popular business magazine)

So how do we go about making change happen?  Often busy people are drawn away from burdened desks for change sessions: white boards, stickers with grouped ideas, ‘actions’.  They are ALWAYS elated because many people in the middle ‘ranks’ of organisations have a shrewd idea of what’s needed, and are pleased to be heard.

The next day the ‘real world’…

— meaning the demands of the here and now reassert themselves.
— dedicated people return to their desks to find in-trays (digital and paper) piled high.  They groan, and get down to it.

The question is: what happens to the ideas?  The answer varies between:

— ‘nothing’ (quite often) 
— via ‘something (often not sustained)’ 
— to ‘application, and effective development’ (in truth seldom).

How do we put ourselves in the third category?  It is essential we do so because stasis is not a business option. 

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