Organizations today are feeling pressure to change from one or more of the six stakeholder groups. All are asking that we do more with less. Better products and services for less money, effort, and impact on the environment. This dissatisfaction is a useful pushing force to help overcome the inertia of the status quo. This is the “burning platform” described in the leading change literature. You know you need to jump, but which direction do you go?
While dissatisfaction is an important forcing function, overcoming inertia requires the combined tension of dissatisfaction and a compelling directive or vision of the desired reality. The combined pressure from dissatisfaction with the status quo and the compelling vision must be greater than the resistance to change or inertia.
Law of Inertia
A body at rest tends to stay at rest unless acted upon by a net force. And, a body in motion tends to stay in motion.”
Sir Isaac Newton
In addition to creating and maintain tension for change, leaders of change have to deal with resistance. Few people like change, but we tend to like change that is imposed on us the least. One leader made the comment,
Change, which I initiate is exciting, but the change that is forced on me is debilitating.”
Overcoming resistance to change is key to sustainable organizational change. One way resistance can be reduced is through a collaborative approach that involves the people in designing and implementing the change. As one leader noted,
My basic belief in people is that I would rather work with them and do everything I can to help them get through denial and get on the right track.”
When all else fails, you can use the technique of one CEO who said,
“We are going to try it for a year, if it doesn’t work, we will go back to what is NOT working now!?
We identify and leverage the forces for change to help us create enough tension to overcome the inertia of the “status quo” and move the organization in the direction of the vision. In addition, we continuously monitor and manage (maintain) the tension to keep the organization moving forward.
Enjoy the journey!
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