Why change doesn’t always work

Change that worksOne of the things I often notice when I am facilitating strategic planning programs for my clients is the wide range of attitudes to change portrayed by different business leaders in the room.

For some people the prospect of change is exciting and for others change is exhausting or even daunting.

It’s not unusual to find some participants with a gung-ho “any change is a good change” attitude literally facing off across the room against others with a more resistant “it’ll never work – anything but change” attitude.

And it’s true – change doesn’t always work!

But without change there is nothing.  As a strategic planning facilitator, ensuring that the changes your organisation embarks on not only work but yield positive results, is fundamental for me.

Whatever the attitudes strategic planning participants display, it is inevitable that some changes will arise from any strategic planning program.  So you can imagine I tend to spend quite a bit of time thinking about things like why change doesn’t always work.

Recently I joined Dean Holland’s Quick Start Challenge as part of my own continuing professional development and today I thought I might share with you some of Dean’s ideas about change and how to make it work.  I think you will find they offer a helpful perspective on why change doesn’t always work and why I am always wary of both the gung-ho “any change is a good change” people and the “anything but change” people.

We all know that change is inevitable.

In fact, everything is constantly changing.  Dean describes it as: “Change is automatic, like the weather.”

“However,” he goes on to say “PROGRESS is not automatic.  We have to take control and take action to see real progress.”

And this, it seems to me, is what lies at the root of the problems for the “anything but change” people.  When you feel like you have no control, or you adopt a passively resistant approach to change and implementing strategic planning outcomes, you will block progress even if you can’t delay change.  And so of course in this situation, change doesn’t work.

But it’s also a problem for the “any change is a good change” people .  Unless your proposed changes are aligned with well considered strategic objectives they will not yield real progress.  In fact they will become another example of change that didn’t work…

To achieve positive results with organisational change requires a process that brings people on board with the changes willingly, that develops understanding as to why the changes are important, what the benefits will be and how they will be shared, and that creates clarity about exactly what actions will foster the changes and who will take those actions.  Get this right and you will find change works!

So while change doesn’t always work, so long as your strategic planning process is well facilitated you can take control of the change process and be confident you will see real progress towards your desired results – and ultimately achieve true change that works!

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Where to use the strategic planning process

The strategic planning process has value in many different contexts, not just at the top of an organisation.

Consider how you can apply it to different parts of your business, to specific projects or challenges, and to your personal as well as your professional life.

 

Strategic Planning Process Quote of Note:

“One person’s strategy is another person’s tactics – what is strategic depends on where you sit.”

Richard Rumelt

 

The strategic planning process is frequently even more important that the ultimate plan that is produced because it builds team commitment to your vision and understanding of the underlying purpose of your actions.