Long term change can be better described as embracing and encouraging change. If the ‘secret’ to success is an organization’s ability to reinvent itself as times and circumstances change, then it only stands to reason that in order to remain successful you must embrace a practice of change for the long term. Every success theory or story starts with an organization embracing change and then every success story ends with the discussion on the benefits achieved by the organization as a result of the change initiative. At this point I suggest that the storey is just beginning. The next three months, six months, two years, ten years down the road are the critical points to measure the success of the change initiative.
Any major change initiative is just the beginning of what should be a new culture in the organization. This new culture should embrace and carry forward the change principles that will carry your organization forward. Forecasting the future is impossible because of all of the variables, both internal and external, that are driving both your business and the market. We see the forecast cycles compressing as time progresses and that is due to the fact that the internal and external variables can impact and change the forecast in shorter and shorter timeframes. Your change initiative drives both hard benefits that bring direct value to your organization and your collaborative partners organizations. Your change initiative also drives soft benefits which while they may not bring hard values, they can however bring long lasting practices or a framework that encourages delivery of hard dollar value in the future.
I would compare this to the ‘Kitchen Impossible’ show projects. The show selects a restaurant that is failing and reinvents the business from menu to layout and decorations to give the business a new start on a solid footing. This makes for a great one hour episode but I am always left wondering ‘Did the change stick?’ My interest lies in how did the business embrace the change principles that were used to guide the make over. These change principles are based on addressing the failures that caused the business to fall into the death spiral in the first place. It is good entertainment to show how a business can be re-built but I think the critical factor for that business is whether the business embraced the principles that would allow the business to identify improvements and continuously rebuild their business.
I have been strongly promoting continuous improvement as the method that will ensure the principles that will ensure current and future success are embraced as a key principles of operation. This practice is the only thing that will ensure the continued success of your initiative. A key soft benefit of any enterprise change initiative is the embracing of the change principles and the incorporation of these change principles in a continuous improvement program. The first objective of the initiative should rightly be the delivery of the value and dollar benefits and a close second should be the implementation of the change principles in a continuous improvement program.
And now for the audience participation portion of the show…
Have your started or are you in the midst of an institutional change initiative? What are the key traits you have identified as required to support the initiative? Have you contemplated the name or phrase for the person leading your initiative?