As part of my job at Gartner, I talk with many clients and publish research. Happily, one of my passions is organizational change and it’s a topic that I cover. It has become very clear to me that one of the reasons organizational change is difficult, and often a major component in project failure, is that all organizational change is thought of as the same. The same techniques and approaches are used for what are really different kinds of change. It’s a bit like using a hammer to do all the work for a kitchen remodel! My research over the last few years has helped me see that this belief is one that is inhibiting successful organizational change.
Change management – changes that are clearly defined from a starting point to the ending point.
Organizational readiness: change that starts from a known point, but the end-state is a target, because the changes happen over time and are iterative. This is common in BPM and process improvement work.
Organizational liquidity: embedding the capability for change throughout the organization and aligning responsibility with authority at the appropriate level within the organization. This clearly moves away from the command and control hierarchical management structure.
Any organizational change likely embraces all three components and it’s important to recognize that up front in the planning stages. Too often the change is lumped into one style or approach and this is where I believe the problem is initiated. Let’s learn to use all of the tools in our toolbox and successfully tackle the tough challenges of organizational change!
Share your thoughts. Where do you see the failure points in organizational change?
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