Is organizational change really possible? Or is it just a term that that sounds good, but continually eludes the leaders who try?
I was asked this question several times during my corporate career, and just as many times now as a business owner. The good news is that the answer is yes, organizational change is really possible. But it’s important to first understand where and how change occurs, to increase the chance of success.
The reality is that the organization itself will not change without the intentional, purposeful efforts of the leaders who run it. So it’s important to change the conversation about how and where to start. Change happens by modifying behaviors, through the values that shape them – starting with leaders.
What Leaders Must Do
If you are a leader, who hasn’t fully embraced what you must personally do differently to affect organizational change, you won’t be able to lead others through it successfully. The key to guiding others through it successfully is to start with yourself. The reason is that the majority of employees won’t consider changing their behaviors or values, until they see you go first.
The Importance of Readiness
You must ask two questions before initiating large scale change – “What must I do to prepare myself to lead change in my organization?”, and “What must I do to prepare my leadership team, and the rest of the employees?” Beginning large scale change in your organization without assessing these two questions will likely cause you to fall into the 70% of organizations who fail at change. But, fully assessing the answers to the questions and developing a Plan of Action for change – means your chance of success will significantly increase!
It’s critical to remember that change is not an event. Everyone involved must understand that change happens as a result of consistently doing things differently, which results in seeing true, sustainable change over time. It can then become the ‘new culture’ and a fact in your organization.