Before kicking off an organizational change initiative, it's crucial to grasp three key elements: awareness of the current reality, acknowledgment that change is necessary, and a belief that the needed change is achievable. These aren't isolated factors; they're intricately interconnected and can dictate the success or failure of our entire change effort.
Consider a manufacturing plant steeped in legacy practices. Too often, a "why bother?" mentality prevails, fortified by a history of failed initiatives. The underlying issue? A collective hesitancy to embrace the need for change and a lack of belief in its feasibility. It is like pretending there isn’t an elephant in the room.
The dual convictions—that change is both necessary and possible—serve as catalysts for organizational transformation. If the collective attitude leans toward "change is someone else’s problem" or "I don’t need to change," then stagnation is likely. In organizational life, we are both the problem AND the solution. Collectively, WE are the organization.
Organizational change is fundamentally the sum of individual shifts. Talk about boosting profits, enhancing employee safety, or elevating customer satisfaction becomes meaningless if individually and organizationally we are closed to growth and adaptation.
Mindsets shape our level of engagement with change efforts. Individual and thereby organizational change efforts don’t necessarily fail because of the wrong vision, or wrong goals. Improvement projects fall short, or change efforts don’t get off the ground often because the foundation and organizational culture cannot support the change effort.
Change and improvements efforts flourish in organizations that:
Seek awareness: to see reality as it is. Active listening, deep, broad, and continual feedback and discussions.
Acknowledge that change is needed: a continuous improvement mindset and the belief that change is inevitable and necessary.
Believe that the needed change is possible: recognition that both individual and collective change is possible.