Be the Change
Most of us are familiar with the adage ”Be the change you wish to see in the world” (a famous quote from Mahatma Ghandi). And as it turns out Ghandi’s encouragement should not be relegated to Facebook motivational moments – you know those moments when you skim through your news feed and feel the psychological uplift that comes from fleetinglingly reflecting on words of wisdom…
It turns out that after years of collaborating in efforts to advance the practice of leadership and cultural transformation, McKinsey & Company (global leaders in organisational change) have become more convinced than ever that organisational change is inseparable from individual change. Their research (see full article) can be summed up quite simply: Change efforts often falter because individuals overlook the need to make fundamental changes in themselves.
A large part of our work at Collective Possibilities is supporting leaders, teams and communities build a more nuanced understanding of themselves and how they operate with the express purpose of growth and change. We agree with McKinsey & Company when they say that building self-understanding and then translating it into an organisational context can be easier said than done, and getting started is often the hardest part.
Organisations don’t change – people do
Half of all efforts to transform organisational performance fail either;
- because there is a mismatch between the type of change that is sort and the resources invested in supporting mind set, heart set and skills set needed to support the future desired state; and/or
- managers don’t act as role models for change, defend the status quo, send mixed messages to their people or fail to adequately invest in the systems and process architecture needed to support their teams to operate in new and innovative ways.
Transformational change is messy and challenging, determined through trial and error as new information is gathered. This makes it impossible to “manage” transformation with pre-determined, time-bound and linear project plans. An over-arching change strategy is required, but the actual change process must “emerge” as you go. This means that executives, managers and frontline workers alike must operate in the unknown—that scary, unpredictable place where stress skyrockets and emotions run high.
Transformation implies that the future state is so radically different from the current state that the people and culture must change to herald this change in successfully. New mindsets and behaviours are required. Leaders and teams must shift their worldviews to imagine and implement their desired new future. Without these “inner” shifts of mindset and culture, the “external” implementation of new structures, systems, processes or technology do not produce their intended ROI. For example, many large IT implementations fail because mindset and culture change has not kept pace with systems change. The new systems require people to share information across strongly held boundaries or put the needs of the enterprise over their own turf agendas. Without these changes in attitude and behaviours, people do not use the technology as designed and the change fails to deliver its ROI.
If organisations identify and address pervasive mind-sets at the start, they are four times more likely to succeed in organisational-change efforts. Click here to read more.