Changing The Focus Of Change Management
Establishing Meaning Over Performance In Change Management
To survive, organizations must become more prepared to change. Change that comes quickly and easily.
Every organization must be capable of implementing the structural and operating changes necessary to survive.
Leo Tolstoy, the Russian novelist, once penned, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
Organizations don’t change—people do!
Countless companies move quickly from setting their performance targets to launching a host of change initiatives. These efforts focus on new marketing strategies, business unit responsibilities or operational improvement programs.
Traditional change management initiatives focused on changing systems, processes and structures.
In order to achieve sustainable change over time, these programs are necessary but seldom adequate. Any change effort will likely fall short if it fails to address the underlying mind-sets and attributes of the people effected. This brings cultural change into to the mix.
Meaning versus Performance Pressure
When the pressure to perform is stronger than perceived meaning in the organisation, people respond negatively. Why?
Put simply, because it doesn’t matter enough to them. Why should a person go the extra mile or make additional effort if they don’t see what is in it for them? All change management initiatives must address this fact.
Recognize the emotional case in change management
If you are asking people to transition to a new reality, they will need to understand the emotional reasons for the change. The emotional reasons taps into the culture of the organization and what each person will receives in return.
Only then will the people involved feel truly committed to the transformation.
It can’t be presented as another “program of the month” that they will have to live through. Bringing the details of what will change – and what won’t – into perspective helps leaders paint a more vivid picture of what the change means for employees personally.
The change management process must offer more then benefits to the business.
The hard truth is that the majority of the change management initiatives are done “to” employees, not implemented “with” them or “by” them.
Change management programs tend to push behavioral change from the top. The expectation is that it will somehow magically cascade down through the formal structure. However, when the informal culture is left to its own instincts, it will likely dig in its heels. It won’t do what is desired.
Corporate culture is an incredibly powerful element to a company’s success. No matter how great the strategy is, when the rubber meets the road, people always make the difference. Not paying attention to culture will undermine results.
The most crucial thing about culture is that it’s the only sustainable point of difference for any organisation. Anyone can duplicate your strategy, but nobody can duplicate your culture. So do not leave it untended!
Interested in improving the productivity of your organization? Or, just getting your change management program back in high gear? We can help.
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