While a collaborative change culture can be one of the single greatest influences on positive continuous change, there are many hurdles that must be overcome in order to achieve and maintain this culture.  The key challenge to overcoming these hurdles is the fact that these hurdles must be continuously monitored to ensure that you do not fall into the bad practice, this is not a ‘one and done’ process but a continuous process to ensure that you do not fall into the bad practices. A key to overcoming the hurdles and ensuring you don’t fall back into these bad practices is to focus on sustainable gains and focus on the hurdles that will keep you from these sustainable gains, your goal in this is to maintain a mutually beneficial collaboration objectives.

These hurdles can be categorized into a couple of groups; the first is represented holistically by a basic lack of interest and the second is a negative attitude.  These groups are nothing new, I know, and we’ve all seen them time after time.  These are truly a human nature reaction to change and as such, these reactions are the fall-back, or first response to the suggestion of change.  I recognize these two groups through the verbalized reaction to change suggestions. 

You can recognize the lack of interest group because their reaction to the suggestion of change is ‘all you have to do’.  What I mean by this is the reaction projects the belief that there is no need for a change because ‘all you have to do’ is take into account the fill-in-the-blank group.  You may see this reaction come out and various stages of your initiative and by various means.  You will need to be vigilant to identify this reaction and attitude in general to ensure that your initiative does not get diverted or killed all together.  I believe that you must address this hurdle head on and immediately so that it does not needlessly delay the initiative.  I also believe that you must address this hurdle head on and as quickly as it begins and you can address this by asking questions and implementing the responses.  In other words, you should react with leading questions such as; who should we engage that has done this?  How should we change or revise our change initiative to ensure we include the group or the suggestion?

The second hurdle, a negative attitude, is a little more difficult to overcome.  This hurdle can come about both openly and passively.  We’ve all experienced these hurdles and the most difficult to overcome is the passive negative attitude.  Again, I believe that this hurdle must be addressed head on and in fact it is the flip side of the first hurdle ‘all you have to do’. 

These hurdles are also a reaction to the fear of change that must be overcome with any initiative.  This is where your collaborative partners can help with overcoming these hurdles.  Sometimes it is easier to overcome a hurdle or challenge when you are either supported by a partner, or addressing the hurdle will help your partner overcome a challenge.  Remember my reference to the 12 step program, your partners can help you overcome your hurdles and I believe this is a critical aspect of building your collaborative partnerships.

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?