What is the secret of organisational change?
There is none. But there is an eternal truth. To change an organisation, you have to change people. And to change people, you have to understand our psychological responses to change and, more than that, how to work with them to create effective change.
So far so good, and many operational practitioners get that far. However, having done the training, or listened to a powerful seminar by an expert, they then get on and do the change to their people. It isn’t enough to know people will have an insatiable appetite for information; you must feed it. It isn’t enough to expect resistance; you must engage with it – positively. And it isn’t enough to get off to a good start; you must be relentless in pursuing effective practice.
Jackie understood change. She’d briefed her team to ensure everyone understood the changes the reasons for their merger with the pensions team and the implications for each of them.
Her staff were alarmed at how it would afect their day to day work, but Jackie gave them each plenty of time to listen to their concerns and answer their questions. It was all looking good.
But then the daily challenge of co-ordinating the her work with that of her opposite number started to dominate her time. Her staff saw less and less of her. Gradually, rumours and gossip started to replace reliable information, and rumblings of discontent emerged, sabbotaging the team’s effectiveness.
So Mike’s first secret of effective change:
Understand the basics; then apply them. Relentlessly.