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What's In A Name? Approaching Organizational Change

3142 words - 13 pages

Abstract:One of the best first steps organizations can take when planning change is to resist the urge to name and sloganize the change effort. This can be difficult. In one organization using a nameless change approach, the executive sub-group tasked with implementing the change effort has continuously struggled to keep the name, and the marketing it initiates, away. As they implemented various aspects of the change plan, people in the organizationbecame charged up about the change. The motivation this generates causes people to want to market the change via buttons, banners, and kick-off events. Change does not have to be achieved by clever pitches, catchy slogans and eye-catching logos; indeed, lasting, meaningful change cannot be accomplished this way. Well-informed people will change when they recognize, in the change, the very tools they need to do their jobs more effectively on aminute-by-minute basis.Which would you rather hear in your organization as you sponsor major change?:Here we go again! This time, the "program of the month" is about "intrapreneuring" and "partnering." Just as with quality, we'll have a big kick-off event, where all the vice presidents show up and tell us how "mission critical" this change is. Then we won't see or hear from them again, and we'll be left with two weeks' worth of training to attend. I tried to tell my HR representative that we did our own training on this last year, but we're all still required to attend. Since I know that my boss is accountable for our attendance, we're just going to have to take deep breaths and deal with this. It's going to be a scheduling nightmare trying to get all this training in at the same time as we're all trying to meet our bottom-lineaccountabilities.or ...What amazes me about this organization is the way senior leaders always seem to understand how to implement change - real change - on the line, where change takes root or dies on the vine. My people can tell you ten ways right now by which elements of this change help them to get theirjobs done better today. Hey, there aren't many who work for me who wouldn't love a chance to take more ownership of their work and partner more openly with other parts of this organization! The people who implement change around here have credibility, because they use change to solve realworldproblems in real time.If, as a leader, you have spent any time sponsoring major change in your organization, the chances are that you have heard the first quote or a disguised version of it. Why is the second quote more rare?Leaders recognize the cynicism of the first quote as a common response to change initiatives. It falls well short of the optimism and excitement of the latter quote, which is the aim of every change effort. Change is supposed to be propulsive and improve the organization. Why have so manypeople come to dread change efforts and doubt any good coming of them?Why do leaders find themselves spending so much time positioning...

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