By Alison France, Evosis
Okay, we all know it’s not always the case that ‘change is simple’ and I’m being deliberately provocative to catch your attention – so how about: Change can be simple…? Based on my knowledge and experience, change in organisations can be achieved effectively and without resistance if you engage with its people and the organisational context.
Here are some tips you can use to do this:
1. Act strategically
Ensure everything you do is aligned with the organisational strategy, taking into account the external environment and senior leaders’ plans for its future direction
2. Be positive
Members of an organisation often tell you all about the things that are going ‘wrong’ and have gone ‘wrong’ in the past. This roots them in a perpetual loop of negativity and creates inertia around any change initiative.
3. Using positive psychology techniques
Approaches such as strengths development and appreciative inquiry can enable organisations to appreciate all that is great about them and use this to improve.
4. Engage influencers (at all levels)
Throughout any project members of the whole organisation need to be involved to ensure activities are both aligned with the strategy (top down) and useful and possible in context (bottom up)
However people communicate, the information, stories and examples they talk about are significant for them. Listening to what they say will ensure they are engaged with the process and enable you to create effective solutions
6. Be relevant
All organisations and even areas within them have their own cultures and areas of knowledge/practice. To create effective change any solutions must be able to work within these:
7. Be practical
Talk about theory and possibilities can be useful but by itself will not be enough to create change. You need to create opportunities for members of the organisation to create and carry out the change in practical ways.
8. Don’t judge
Even when dealing with people you don’t know in organisations you don’t work within it is easy to get sucked in and become emotionally and practically involved. Maintaining objectivity in any situation is paramount to any professional so they can achieve the best result.
To increase the standing of OD practice in organisations the more you can measure against stated objectives the more influential the practice will be!
10. Change yourself
As often happens in our practice we can do this with clients and advise others about how to achieve this but rarely achieve this for ourselves or organisations we are involved in. This requires a significant grasp and practice of emotional intelligence, organisational politics and use of ‘self’ (see organisational development texts) which we (me included) often struggle to achieve.
Areas of theory and practice which have helped shape my positive, strategic approach to change include:
- Organisational Development
- Occupational Psychology
- Positive Psychology
- Neuroscience and physiology
- Sociology and anthropology
- Business strategy, including improvement techniques such as balanced scorecard, six sigma and lean
If you’d like to know more, or disagree with me, don’t hesitate to get in touch! Alison@evosis.co.uk