Change is not an unnatural phenomenon. On the contrary, it is entirely natural. Life is all about change. Evolution itself is a process of continuous change. Our emergence from primordial mud reveals a permanent push for progress, and, for humans as a species, that drive persists. Continuous improvement is not the organisational phenomenon that we have come to associate with the term. It is the fundamental law of life. It permeates everything we do.
So why do we have so much trouble dealing with change?
- Our approach to change, which is mechanical and process focused rather than evolutionary and organic;
- The way we structure and manage our organisations; and
- The way in which both these foster the gap between personal and organisational objectives that I wrote about last week.
This theory seems to be borne out by a McKinsey article “The Four Building Blocks of Change.” The 4 blocks depicted are:
- Role modelling
- Fostering understanding and conviction
- Developing talent and skills
- Reinforcing with formal mechanisms.
The blocks themselves indicate a top-down approach to change. This ‘change-by-decree’ attitude perpetuates the mechanical approach to change, with all its historical shortcomings and consequent failures, and ensures sub-optimal returns. That, however, does not mean you should ignore these blocks. It simply means – if you are serious about continuous improvement and creating a more responsive, adaptive and innovative organisation – that you need to enhance or build on them in order to make your organisation more organic and change more natural.
The blocks for doing this are to:
- Identify a clear sense of purpose for the organisation – by answering the question what purpose it serves for the world
- Define the values which define how you meet that purpose
- Identify all the roles necessary to fulfil that purpose and their intersections
- Find the people who share those values and have the ability to fill those roles
- Give them all they need to meet their responsibilities in their roles
- Give them a stake in the organisation that perpetuates mutual endeavour for the shared purpose
- Recognise their need for personal development and provide them with the tools to grow
- Continue to make them feel valued and that they are making a difference and are suitably rewarded for the investment of their lives in your organisation.
Those blocks are less generic than McKinsey’s and provide a clearer pattern for you to follow. Yet, when you look at them more closely, you will see that they actually incorporate those four – including providing a framework for ensuring the role modelling that all too often is left out of 'change-by-decree' programmes. And, even better, they are all catered for by the ‘Every Individual Matters’ Model, which offers you a framework for effectively delivery.
Follow these steps and change will become evolutionary rather than mandatory, making it less of a challenge, less of a risk, and less intimidating.
If you like what you have read contact me today for a free 30 minute conversation about how my ‘Every Individual Matters’ Model can provide the catalyst to help you create an organisational culture of ‘Love at Work’ : one where everyone cares and the business becomes our business, so embracing change and transforming – and sustaining – organisational performance.
Bay is the founder and director of Zealise, and the creator of the ‘Every Individual Matters’ organisational culture model that helps transform organisational performance and bottom-line results. Bay is also the author of several books, including “Lean Organisations Need FAT People” and “The 7 Deadly Toxins of Employee Engagement” and, more recently, The Democracy Delusion: How to Restore True Democracy and Stop Being Duped.