Tuesday, September 7, 2010

When is an Organization Ready for Change?

In the late 20th century, (although not a formal program, but none the least, widespread), organizations lauded what I call “Nay-Sayers.”

These were people who could kill creative plans and initiatives by identifying a single weakness, pointing it out and offering no alternative.

Many change practitioners responded to that threat on organizational advancement with “killer phrase” lists and “progressive thinking” sessions.

Some of these countering efforts had success and others were not so successful. Despite these efforts, “the proverbial “Nay-Sayers” still reside and flourish in many organizations.

I have read many interesting papers on a relationship between change readiness and organizational “emotional maturity” or tier position of its leadership, on Maslow’s hierarchy.

I am going to take my experience and research and suggest the controversial position, with somewhat a flippant phrase…it doesn’t matter what the emotional maturity level is of its management or what tier one is at on Maslow's hierarchy…if a person or organization is ready for change…they are ready!  In fact...all organizations are ready for change...

Whether or not an organization embraces the need for change...is directly related to the change agents' ability to make a compelling case for the required change...failure to embrace that change is also the change agents' failure...

As self evident as that phrase may sound, the need for change is based on the recognition, by an individual or organization, that its current state is unsatisfactory and that there is value is doing something about it.

Simply stated, if there is a value in changing...they will change!

If this was not the case, all but a very few individuals or organizations would advance, those few being the ones with the highest levels of emotional maturity or at the self-actualization tier of the hierarchy.  We all know how many of those there actually are!

A change agent’s job is not to wait for the emotional maturity of a leader or the tier level of an organization to rise to a specific level, before taking action. Do not use and organization’s or a leader’s level of development as an excuse for the lack of change readiness.

The agent’s responsibility is to make a compelling case for change, in terms, that the can understand, agree with, embrace and support.

A leader or an organization can be “change ready” whatever the maturity or tier level. Success calls for an astute assessment of the Stakeholder’s needs and meeting them on their ground with a compelling case for change...in their language...

To put the answer into one sentence, you will know that your organization is ready for change, when you have made the case, and they can clearly recite the case for change

Then you will receive all of the support for the effort through their actions….it does not matter where they are…change depends on you going to them on their terms!

The question that you need to ask yourself, "Are you ready to make that change in the way you work?"

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