It’s not you, it’s your company. Management Innovation eXchange founders Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini believe that continuous improvement requires the creation of change platforms, rather than change programs ordained and implemented from the top.
The problem lies in beliefs about who is responsible for launching change and how change is implemented.
Transformational-change initiatives have a dismal track record. In 1996, Harvard Business School professor John Kotter claimed that nearly 70 percent of large-scale change programs didn’t meet their goals,1 and virtually every survey since has shown similar results. Why is change so confounding? ....The problem lies in beliefs about who is responsible for launching change and how change is implemented.
The reality is that today’s organizations were simply never designed to change proactively and deeply—they were built for discipline and efficiency, enforced through hierarchy and routinization. As a result, there’s a mismatch between the pace of change in the external environment and the fastest possible pace of change at most organizations. If it were otherwise, we wouldn’t see so many incumbents struggling to intercept the future.
In most organizations, change is regarded as an episodic interruption of the status quo, something initiated and managed from the top. The power to initiate strategic change is concentrated there, and every change program must be endorsed, scripted, and piloted before launch.
Transformational change,...is typically belated and convulsive—and often commences only after a “regime change.” What’s needed is a real-time, socially constructed approach to change, so that the leader’s job isn’t to design a change program but to build a change platform—one that allows anyone to initiate change, recruit confederates, suggest solutions, and launch experiments.
Related change posts by Deb: