Every organization I’ve ever worked with comes to a point where the status quo, a place where things stay the same doesn’t feel competitive or energizing. The folks at the top company try to change and improve things. The successful ones may do it right, or they may just be lucky. The problem is that luck is very hard to replicate. So how can we, you, I duplicate successes and improve the odds that the changes implemented are going to not just be successful changes, but create success for the organziation too?
There are three key components to organizational change: strategy, tactics and people. Wemay understand the need for all three, but most of us tend to go to our strengths.
Strategy – Strategy is skill in managing any matter, using a plan, a scheme or a system. In the world of organizational change, it really means the vision — defining what needs to change and why. Without a plan, there is no direction.
Tactics – Tactics are the methods used to bring about change. There are a wide variety of tools to manage change. But like any experienced carpenter, you need the right tool for the job. The less effective the tools, the more time and energy is wasted. Sometimes a few tools, used in conjunction with one another is the best way to accomplish a successful change. Without the right tools in the right hands, some changes are never achieved.
People – Everyone is unique and reacts differently based on their distinct combination of human nature and their environment. Different personalities, styles, preferences and filters impact how people react and handle change. Without people being on board with the change, the strategy and the tactics you choose won’t matter.
Your preferential styles and talents move us to the areas where we feel most comfortable and probably experience the most success. But going to your strengths can actually leave you weak.
People who think that Strategy is their strongest suit usually ask:
• Where are we going?
• How are we doing?
• What needs to change? Why?
Concerned with the bottom line and the big picture, these folks use words like vision, purpose, competition, performance, goals, critical analysis, brainstorming, and logistics. They are looking ahead to see where the organization will be in the next five years. . They compare themselves to other firms, evaluate the effectiveness of current practices and explore new ways of doing things.
If you think your strengths lie with Strategy, then you are most concerned with how to make needed changes rather than why they are necessary. The focus is on the tools and processes that can bring about successful transition; on the present and not really on the future. You use words such as tools, hardware, sequence, discipline, details, control and plan. Order is created by assigning tasks and organizing, scheduling and performing follow-ups.
Those of you who are drawn to the People side of change are most concerned with involving others, gaining trust and eliminating fear. Eager to reduce conflict and improve teamwork, the words that carry weight for you include communication, values, growth, interaction, participation, training, intervention, development, emotion and interpersonal. Through sharing, listening, expressing and collaborating, you work towards developing team building tools.
• Big picture people like strategy.
• People who like methodology, tools and technology favor tactics.
• People-people are interested in communication, learning, feeling and knowledge.
Managing the transition process successfully requires a working knowledge and comfort level with all three areas. To sustain change you need to communicate with people who approach the process differently and form a strong team that uses the most powerful tools for the tasks at hand.
The most powerful Change ‘masters’ are those who build bridges between the three components. If you are most comfortable in only one specific area, take heart. You can make a concerted effort to learn more about the other two areas. Get to know people who value the other aspects of organizational change. Going to your strengths can mean knowing what areas require support and development. Be resourceful and make sure that all three areas are included in your plans for successful change.