Why do organisational change efforts have such a poor track record?
One of the key causes mentioned, of why organisational change efforts are difficult, is the resistance-to-change of the people in the organisation. And indeed, when people in your organisation resist change this can seriously jeopardise your organisational change effort.
However, could it be that resistance-to-change and its indicators tell us more about how we manage organisational change and less about the change-resisting people it supposedly refers to?
Imagine what could happen if in your next organisation change effort, change would not simply happen to people and to units in your organisation, but you would design it together and change would be released by the people in your company?
It could be that all the change resisting that is going on in organisations leads to the relatively newly coined term “change fatigue.” However, it is more likely this is due to the accelerating rate of change and particularly starting new change projects while there are already other – conflicting – change projects going on.
In the change-ability check we use for “Change Design Works”, there is first item about whether your organisation’s vision and long-term goals inspire (mostly) clarity or confusion (see earlier post). The second item concerns the engagement and drive within your organisation and whether this is best summarised by passion or by apathy.
Recent figures from the Gallup organisation show that almost 60% (!) of the people of an average company (in the USA) are disengaged or actively disengaged. Indicators of apathy are cynicism, victim behaviour (like blaming and complaining), and passive aggressiveness.
Can you imagine what a typical top down change project would be like in this type of an organisation?
Instead, “World-class” organisations have more than 70% (fully) engaged people. People who are passionate (driven) and intrinsically motivated. They don’t need to be pushed into any change, because they push themselves. An engaged workforce would significantly help your organisation to be more successful in change efforts.
Organisational change doesn’t have to be so hard.