Transformation Can't Be Forced, but You Can Give It a Nudge
Organizational change is a big thing. Organizations spend hundreds of millions of dollars on organizational transformation efforts. Consultants specializing in how to successfully manage organizational change are legion. Methodologies, tools, workshops and resources abound, promising the guidance to make change happen smoothly and well.
The impetus for undergoing transformation varies: it can be the desire to evolve organizational culture, realize a new way of operating, implement a new enterprise-level system or manage the integration of organizations through a merger or acquisition. What is common to all of these is a current state that is deemed unacceptable, a desired target future state that is to be attained, and a journey of some form to be experienced in getting from where we are to where we are going.
There’s just one problem: You can’t force anyone to take that journey.
We like to think that organizational change is a process that can be managed. That we can plan it well, proactively anticipate resistance, develop compelling arguments and get everyone on board and enthusiastic about the new direction. In a perfect world, that’s exactly the way it would work. But the reality is that we don’t live in that world, and there is no reasonable expectation that we ever will.
The challenge here is a simple one. We think of transformation and
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