Has your organization come to the point where the status-quo – that place where things stay the same — doesn’t feel competitive or energizing? Senior management tries to change and improve things. The successful ones may do it right or they may just be lucky. The problem with luck is that it is almost impossible to replicate.
So how can successes be duplicated? How can you improve the odds that the changes made are going to not only be successful changes, but create success for the organization too?
Like a three legged stool – there are 3 key components to organizational change: strategy, tactics and people. While we may understand the need for all of them, most of us tend to go to our strength. That can mean that one gets attention but the other two get short shrift.
Strategy – Strategy is the 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 the change. There are a wide variety of tools to manage change, but just like an experienced carpenter, you need the right tool for the job. The less effective the tools, the more time and energy will be wasted. Sometimes a few tools, used in conjunction with one another can be 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 preferred style and unique talents move you to the areas where you feel most comfortable and probably experience the most success. But going to your strengths can actually leave you weak.
If you think that Strategy is your strongest suit, you usually ask:
• Where are we going?
• How are we doing?
• What needs to change? Why?
Concerned with the bottom line and the big picture, you tend to use words like vision, purpose, competition, performance, goals, critical analysis, brainstorming, and logistics. You look ahead to see where the organization will be in the next five years. You compare your organization to other firms, evaluate the effectiveness of current practices, and explore new ways of doing things.
If you think your strengths lie with Tactics, then you are most concerned with how to make needed changes rather than why they are necessary. Your focus is on the tools and processes that can bring about successful transition. You concentrate on the present and not really on the future. You use words like tools, hardware, sequence, discipline, details, control and plan. Order is created by assigning tasks and organizing, scheduling and following up.
And if you are drawn to the People side of change, you are most concerned with involving others, gaining their trust, and eliminating fear. Eager to reduce conflict and improve teamwork, the words that are important to 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.
But 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 that the other two areas will require support and development. Be resourceful and make sure that all three areas are included in your plans for successful change.
It’s like a three legged stool: all three legs required. If you are missing one, the stool won’t stand.