My wife and I have lived in the same house for 29 years. We raised three kids in this house. We’ve entertained countless friends in this house. As we’ve been active in our businesses and in our community, this house has been our center of operations. Now we’re going to move. Not across the street. We’re going to move 2700 miles away – to the opposite side of the continent!
I have a brilliant (in my opinion) visual (borrowed from another) that I’ve used with many of my business owner clients. It depicts the five key elements of any effective organizational change:
- Action Plan
I now realize that these are also critical for a successful personal change. More importantly, I now realize that major change is really an inside job. Above all else, the leader of the change must know in their gut that it’s the right thing to do. That it’s worth the investment of real time and money. That it’s worth the sacrifices that must be made. That it’s worth leaving some people behind.
As in all things strategic, the Vision drives the process. The change leader must see clearly the end result, and must communicate it effectively to all others involved. This is where my personal change has been considerably easier than a company’s organization change. Both Karen and I share the Vision. We reinforce the Vision in each other. We don’t have to transform the thinking of dozens of others in order to point our ship in the right direction. That makes it easier. But the leader of a 5-person or 50-person or 500-person organization must help create the Vision for all stakeholders – not once, but over and over again. Falling short here will pretty well doom any organizational change initiative.
The bottom line on change is…it’s difficult! But it’s an inside job from start to finish. Your head has to be right. You have to be committed. Your Vision must be compelling. All else is secondary.