Make Change Work for You
What I notice most in our change management work is how organizations stall out in the middle of their change efforts. Most organizations start out with a real commitment to address a problem, or to move the needle in a particular direction. They pull together resources and leadership attention to get started. They frequently engage consultants and external experts to assist. There are assessments and plans that are put together with great fanfare. If the issue or problem involves any level of complexity, and certainly if it involves a change in the culture, the plans are multi-year and multi-pronged. About a year into the effort, there is a noticeable waning of enthusiasm and effort.
We often ask ourselves why this happens. Why do change efforts peter out? Perhaps the biggest pain point that led them to seek help in the first place has been ameliorated enough so the urgency is less. Perhaps there is a new crisis on the horizon. Perhaps there has been a change in leadership. Perhaps a shiny new theory/concept/idea has caught the attention of leadership. Perhaps the leader just ran out of energy to sustain the change. Perhaps all of the above conspire in some form to remove attention and resources from an effort that started with such fanfare, hope, and optimism.
What’s unfortunate about this all-too-common situation is the potential left unrealized. Particularly in culture change efforts, letting them peter out means you never address the true, underlying dysfunctions that got the organization in trouble in the first place. Usually, they will rear their heads again later and the cycle will begin again. Employees will just be more jaded and skeptical as everyone experiences déjà vu a few years later. Consequently, your effort to create positive change will be much more difficult the next time around.
Need assistance with change in your organization? Contact OLA.