Thursday, June 9, 2011

Steps to Building a Change-Accepting Environment

When Is New Thinking Called Upon?

In most businesses, the majority of new ideas and solutions evolve from reactions to specific situations, in a domino effect. New thinking is not a built-in, defined part of the company culture, or a key element of the business structure — like accounting or HR — but rather, it is pulled out when needed. New thinking is seen as a cure to a problem, instead of systemic and integrated into the culture of a company. New thinking is typically sought for:

• New Products or Services, New Markets, New Sales
• Old Product, Services or Market Revitalization
• Product or Market Issues/Problems
• New Management and/or Management Changes
• Partnering/Joint Ventures/Mergers
• Competitive Situations
• Performance Issues
• New Technologies
• Personal Health or Crises
• Career Changes or Stall-outs
• Government Actions

What Hinders New Thinking?

If a company’s culture is conflict averse, or even worse, hostile to outsiders, new thinking can be greatly impacted. Things that often negatively impact new thinking include:

• Past Success
• Current Success
• Looking Backward
• Emotions
• Poor Understanding
• Lack of Communications
• Culture of the Organization
• Strong Personalities
• Pack Mentality / Cliques
• Leadership (Lack Of Or Too Strong)
• Group Think
• Not Broke Why Fix It
• Power Struggle Issues
• Too Much Internal Competition

Anyone attempting to develop a business culture that accepts new thinking, new ideas and new people must be honest with themselves and the leadership of their organization. Change acceptance is grounded in candor and openness. Nothing kills change acceptance faster than defensiveness or fear of honest dialogue.

Moreover, change should be attempted when and where it is appropriate and strategic. Too much too soon, or wholesale change, can cause problems. It overloads the organization and 
creates a sense of lack of control. There is a thing called “change fatigue” and it starts the moment change is underway.

Start with something and gain a small win, then move on to the next. In time the wins will add up and the business leadership will think, “Hey, this is just a part of how we operate.” This is why it is so important to start with a planned, endorsed and proactive change.

“People resist it on every level in all sorts of ways, and leaders can be the most resistant of all.” — John Kotter, Harvard Business School

No comments:

Post a Comment