Change. I’m not talking about what you get back from the store when you spend cash, I’m talking about real change! Change is inevitable but in today’s world change is becoming the status quo. Perhaps you are leading a team where change is so constant, you struggle to figure out what the current state should be. This week it was X but next week it will be Y. The impact of all of these changes to your team is stress and perhaps disengagement. The impact to the organization is a failed change project and an exhausted and frustrated workforce.
The generally accepted practice to dealing with change in an organization is to put together an initiative to “manage change.” Organizational leaders may consult with and hire a “Change Practitioner” to develop a change management strategy. This strategy may include things such as change models and educational programs designed to minimize resistance. The goal is to encourage the workforce to “embrace” change. An organization may take it a step further and look to develop their leadership into “change champions” that not only manage change but learn how to to “lead change.” Unfortunately the ugly truth is, this method does not work. Research over the past 20+ years consistently demonstrates, that despite all these efforts, over 70% of change initiatives FAIL! The result, a decrease in trust and moral from the workforce, a frustrated leadership team, and a senior leadership team going back to the drawing board to start the change process again.
The challenge with so many of these change initiatives is that the focus is on the wrong thing. Rather than trying to teach people to manage change, navigate a change model, and reduce their resistance, leadership should be focused on building a resilient organization! Traditionally resilience has been defined as the ability to Bounce Back from a difficult time. Transformative Resilience™ is about transforming from adversity and coming back stronger and more capable. Those who have developed the skills of Transformative Resilience™ welcome change as an opportunity for learning and growth. Resilient people are not immune to change but they are less disrupted by it. They move through change more quickly and positively and tend to be more productive during times of change. They are “fast, friendly, flexible, and focused” (Rosabeth Moss Kantor, Harvard Business School).
Building a resilient workforce, using the principles of Transformative Resilience™ will provide your organization with the tools needed to move forward in today’s changing landscape. You will not only increase your organizations readiness for change and productivity, but you will increase innovation and creativity as well. Individuals will begin to examine change through a learning lens rather than resist it. If you or your organization are struggling through change after change and don’t seem to be moving forward, examine the resilience of your workforce and take the steps necessary to build resiliency as opposed to simply “managing change.”
Harvard Business Review, Cracking the Code of Change