Tom Peters used to repeat a sentence from general Eric Shinseki, Chief of Staff of the US Army which went:
“If you don’t like change, you are going to like irrelevance even less”
A good way to say that the pathway that is about to begin is a path of change, of transformation, and that change and transformation are necessary elements (must have) and not just desirable (nice to have) for your organization.
There are many reasons why we must always change and bring into question our organization and be ready to transform it.
I believe there are particularly 4 reasons that have to push us to continually rethink our organization.
- The growth curve of companies, which reminds us that is exactly in the maximum growth phase that our company has to make a “leap” onto the second curve so as to stay competitive and continue to grow. Every company goes through a growth phase and just when “counter intuitively” it is in the phase of maximum success, it has to be ready to change and “leap” onto a new curve.
- To place, or place once again the customer in the middle. Companies, even those that are more customer-oriented, by inertia tend to focus more and more on the “inside” and less and less on the outside i.e. towards the customer. Every 2 or 3 years this re-focusing is necessary at all levels of the organisation.
- To re-organise the structure and maximise strengths: seeking excellence means knowing our strengths and focusing on them!
- To constantly apply “zero based thinking”, i.e. a decision-making process based on imagining yourself back at the point before particular decisions were made, and free to make those decisions with the knowledge that you have now about their outcome. Therefore, one is dealing with re-assessing all the decisions taken in the past in the light of the information that we have today. Would you have made that investment? Would you have entered that business? Would you have taken on that person knowing what you know today? If the answer is NO, then it’s time to act!!! Careful! This process take a lot of courage…often from this analysis the need to make even drastic decisions comes out!
But why do people, and more generally organizations not want to change?
In my opinion there are 5 main reasons for “NOT” to change, which it is essential to know to be able to activate the actions necessary to “counter attack” this inertial force:
- Lack of clarity about “where you want to go” (having a clear vision of the future)
- Lack of the necessary “confidence” to go in the desired direction (change the paradigms)
- Lack of “skills” (and “coaching”, need to “teach” change)
- Lack of “commitment” to change (and courage)
- Lack of “consistency”.you change little and for a short time (routines of change are not established)
If we want to change (and we want!) we need to tackle each of these points in different ways.
Only through continuous change we will be able to create an organization that does not hamper change but encourages it!
From “High Performance Company Manifesto” by Simone Gibertoni