Organizational Change Management Requires Heart
When businesses face problems, where they look for solutions reveals the maturity of the culture and the depth of their thinking. Many years ago, I worked for a company that had an HR issue between two mid-level executives who could not get along. The root causes were a rapidly expanding business, personality conflict, and the desire of both executives to be in charge of the same responsibilities. Rather than make a decision, their boss went to the current head of IT who recommended a million-dollar technical solution from his former Big 4 consulting firm as a way of managing the problem. I’m pretty sure your intuition is pointing to where this is going. Throwing technology at an HR conflict masked the issue for a while, even distracted the mid-level executives from causing headaches higher up the chain as they vied for supremacy over the resulting process, but it didn’t solve the problem. In fact, it ultimately made it much worse.
It’s not the only time I’ve seen technology positioned as the solution to a problem it simply can’t solve. If you’ve spent any time in IT, you’ve probably been a on a project that resembled this. The wisdom is in matching the right solution to the actual problem.
What does this have to do with digital transformation, organizational change management and adoption? Everything.
A lot of times, we think we are clever. The truth is, more often than not, the person that’s easiest to fool is the one we see in the mirror. At the heart of effective change is truth: unvarnished, unsmoothed, unfiltered, brave and pure. It requires a level of honesty, first with oneself and then with leaders, peers, and subordinates. And it requires a level of objectivity so you can evaluate a situation unclouded with biases and perceptions. For some, this is uncomfortable and even down right difficult. We all want problems to go away and for some of us, it’s easier to ignore problems than to address them directly. We struggle to ask the hard questions. We struggle to say no when we should. We can get lost in seeking approval from those we perceive as being in power rather than maintaining our standards – because that’s harder. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself, where does the power come from for those, we collectively serve? And is power worth the cost?
And this is where we see the line form between leadership and manipulation. Yes, there is a line and it’s clearly marked for those willing to look. True leadership is convincing others to do something they may not ordinarily do for their benefit and the benefit of others. Manipulation is convincing others to do something they may not ordinarily do in a way that isn’t a win-win.If you are mentally blending or rationalizing the two, there’s a good chance it’s time to have a humble dance with your mirror. You might be shocked at how easy it is to find yourself in a situation of manipulation because you’ve rationalized the means to the end without considering where the win is for others who are involved. This requires practice and conscious effort when we’re just trying to get things done.
Why does this matter? Because if you are going to bring about positive change, you need to have your motives in order and they need to be aligned with a moral compass where the magnetism of the standard points the needle to objective truth, not personal desire unless personal desire is aligned to objective truth, not the other way around. When you implement change, you are impacting people. That’s a big deal so it’s important to get it right. Once the motive is right and the direction is right, then the change can be right. And that is a formula for success. Getting that out of order doesn’t end well.
When those pieces are aligned correctly,real change and digital transformation can begin. When analyzing change and transformation at Windward we recognize that the change progression moves from head, to heart, to hand, to feet.
- Head – I know about the change and I understand it
- Heart – I want the change and I believe in it
- Hands – I will act to effect the change
- Feet – I’ll advocate with others for the change
We all move through this progression during adoption of any technology initiative and we recognize that change happens one heart a time. Organizations are made up of individuals.Get a critical mass of people moving the right way in the right direction and the organizational change follows. It’s not an edict, an e-mail or a town hall that makes organizational change happen. It’s a relationship built on truth and trust that makes change happen.
Digging in to our motives helps create the inspiration required to get others engaged. It makes the communications clear and the North Star that guides the effort plain. From there it is about building the relationships that sponsor, enable, deliver, receive and carry forward the benefits of the investment. Project Management/DevOps creates the signal. Change Management is the amplifier to make sure it’s received. Click here to learn more about our overall strategy.
If you would like to get your arms around how to create a successful digital transformation in your organization using cutting edge organizational change management methods, please schedule a meeting with our A-team.
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Doug Reece | Client Executive