When it comes to organizational change it’s becoming clear that using the word “manage” is inappropriate. At least five significant industry surveys in recent history have validated the outcomes of less than 30 per cent of change initiatives met their goals. (For example: Creating organizational transitions, McKinsey Global Survey Results, McKinsey Quarterly, July 2008.)
Expecting to manage change rests on an assumption that the process is linear – cause and effect are clearly linked and predictable. Seldom, if ever, is this the case in dealing with groups of humans. As a result, the typical top-down, carrot-and-stick approach to invoking change hasn’t proven to be very successful.
Most change efforts I’ve witnessed and participated in have been long on motivational effort and short on specific activity that increases the ability of people in organizations to change. Generally people aren’t averse to the idea of change but don’t much like the feeling of being changed. I think using different language will help.
We need to be having conversations that promote change and discuss how we can best accommodate and respond to change. As important as these conversations are, actions speak louder than words. As change advocates (or agents) we need also to model the responses we strive for and demonstrate support for the type of changes underway.
It’s important for people enmeshed in organizational change to know why this is happening – otherwise how can one commit to the desired outcome(s)? It’s critical however that we know how to change.
We’ve been having success with evolutionary approaches to large scale organization change using a collection of tools and processes we call Lean Change. If you’d like to learn more simply contact Leanintuit.