Written by Dave on April 24, 2012
Does your organisation or business need to change? If it is not producing the required profit, productivity and or other performance outcomes required of it then the answer is most likely yes. If change is required, specifically what needs to change and why? If planning change be mindful the easiest change to implement will not necessarily be the best change, especially when considering the desired effect alongside longevity and sustainability. If you are going to implement some form of organisational change, do so cognitively in a considered and reasoned way. Know and understand your organisation or business culture within the complexities of the situation and environment, mitigate associated risks and prioritise actions and resources required to effect change.
Culture, by definition, is the collective of ideas, customs and behaviours of a group; organisational culture can be defined as the basic assumptions and beliefs that are shared by members of the organisation. The challenge in understanding and dealing with organisational and business culture is the reality and difficulty of changing the shared behaviours and beliefs of a group of people. When considering organisational change, culture is ‘king’ and will prevail irrespective of structural and functional developments if not addressed specifically. A leader, whether established or newly appointed, can implement structural and functional change within an organisation with relative ease (not necessarily easily). An externally appointed leader, initially at least, will not be readily accepted by the culture of an organisation and will need to work hard to achieve the required level of trust which engenders followers. Combine both factors to a change management or organisational change initiative and the associated problems are likely to be exacerbated. (If you doubt this consider how many external CEO and MD appointments are terminated within 12 to 24 months).
Strategic development and the change it necessitates can arise, develop and evolve accidentally and deliberately in different ways. Significant change within or of an organisation or business is most often a result of executive level, strategic decision making aimed at achieving some defined effect(s). Understanding and knowing the development process of a strategy and the different perspectives of strategic development is important in implementing effective change. The leadership view will most usually differ to that of the organisation’s cultural view and if an organisation is subject to political pressure or pressure from significant interest groups then the process of strategic development becomes more complex again. These processes and perspectives are not mutually exclusive and coexist to some extent in all businesses and organisations.
If organisational change is to be effected and implemented successfully the following key issues need to be considered:
Developing strategy and implementing change in a complex, dynamic environment, especially where innovation and flexibility are required, is very difficult and traditional practices, structures and models may not apply or be the most appropriate.
What is the leadership and management knowledge and experience within a complex, political and cultural organisational context? If an organisation or business wants to acquire the capability to change and adapt in order to succeed, it needs to consider how best to develop and grow its leaders from within.