Change is tough

We all know that changing organisations is tough, right? Organisations are complex systems and, whilst I’m always prepared to argue the case that people don’t resist change, I know that systems do.

There’s still a lot of top-down planning for change going on. But let’s face it, it doesn’t matter how good your plan is, change will never go to plan and transformative organisational change is out of anyone’s control.

Here at Shift, we’re great at catalysing change, and we love the rollercoaster ride of supporting it as it happens, but we know that neither we nor the client really controls it. It’s working with a systems perspective and great tools and techniques that ensures the positive outcomes we achieve.

Developing a company that can change and adapt

Some organisations have the ability to adapt and change more easily than others, and they’re not just the start-ups. Significant benefits accrue to those businesses that have that capability, and significant costs to those that don’t.

The way we see companies responding differently to employees’ future needs post-Covid is really highlighting the gaps between those that have it and those that don’t (J P Morgan – I’m looking at you!).

Have you ever thought about what it is that makes the real difference?

Enablers of change

It’s long been recognised that management practices are self-fulfilling prophesies. Trust is one of the key enablers of effective change (and great performance!), but if you manage people as though you don’t trust them they will prove themselves untrustworthy in your eyes. So whilst it may seem that management practices are wholly the HR team’s domain, leaders overlook the impact of them at their peril. They are key levers for enabling change…or inhibiting it. I wrote about this a couple of years ago too.

The focus on management practices is not without its very public failures however. The news stories keep coming about organisations whose leaders hold up their management practices (and themselves) as shining examples of how to do it right, then come seriously unstuck as they scale, or their operations become misaligned from their purpose – Basecamp and BrewDog being two of the most recent high-profile examples.

Where are you right now?

If you’re looking to improve your company’s ability to change and adapt, identifying where your management practices are getting in the way is a vital step.

Where does your company sit on the spectrum below in terms of the outcomes you’re currently achieving?  


Identifying opportunities to improve the ability to change

If you’re looking to identify how you can develop your business into one that’s more able to change, let’s talk. I’m working with the team that’s developed Indexer – a powerful diagnostic survey that highlights specifically which of your management practices are getting in the way of your company’s ability to evolve and adapt.

It’s a great first step to help you focus your energy and resources in the right place. Enabling change may be simpler than you think!